U.S. stock markets fluctuated and eventually ended the week down despite investors’ optimism regarding the economic situation in the country.

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According to Bloomberg, the trading in the markets today may be affected by unexpected swings due to a quarterly event called quadruple witching, when futures and options contracts on indexes and individual stock expires.

Chad Morganlander, a fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. also explained to the media agency that today’s decline in the stock markets was caused by a combination of witching day and the continuation of uncertainty in the geopolitical front. He said, “That’s forced the traders to square their books going into the weekend. Days like this are typically volatile.”

On the other hand, Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research Inc noted that some of the reports on Thursday “were pretty overall,” which indicate signs of economic strength carried over today. He predicted, “Perhaps there’s come pent-up demand that is going to translate into improvement with the economic reports coming next week.”

This week, the economic data showed that the U.S. economy rebounded from the negative impact of severe weather conditions. The Federal Reserve recently stated, “There is sufficient underlying strength in the broader economy to support ongoing improvement in labor-market conditions.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,300.39 (-0.19%)
  • S&P 500- 1,866.31 (-0.30 %)
  • NASDAQ- 4,276.79 (-0.98%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,193.34 (-0.47%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,096.49 (+0.25%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,557.17 (+0.23%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,342.94 (+0.50%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,224.23 (-1.65%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,436.70 (+1.20%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,158.80 (+3.44%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of LIN MEDIA LLC (NYSE:LIN) surged 22.48% to $26.32 per share on reports that Media General, Inc. (NYSE:MEG) will buy it for $1.6 billion to create the second-largest TV broadcast company in the United States.  The combined company will cover approximately 23% of TV households in the country. The shares of Media General climbed nearly 1% to $17.44 a share today.

The shares of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) rose 2.76% to $50.66 per share after the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster maintained its earnings forecast for the current fiscal year. The company also rejected the proposal of activist investors to put its plan to sell Red Lobster to a shareholder vote.

Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) dropped 5.12% to $75.21 after the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic footwear and apparel indicated that the strength of the dollar could slow down its performance overseas. The company posted third quarter earnings that outperformed the expectations of Wall Street analysts.