The stock markets ended the trading session higher again today driven by data showing that the economy continues to grow. Data also showed that the inflation is below the target of the Federal Reserve. Diplomats also intensified their efforts to resolve the tension in Eastern Ukraine.

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The Department of Commerce reported that the housing starts in the United States climbed 15.7% to 1.09 million units, the highest level in eight months. On the other hand, the Department of Labor reported that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% in July, lower compared with the 0.3% increase in June.

Brian Daingerfield, the currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland at Stamford, Connecticut commented, “The improvement in housing starts may reduce the concern about the risks to the economy from stagnation in the housing market.” He added that the improved housing data could boost the confidence of the Federal Reserve to raise the interest rates next year.

On the other hand, Tim Rudderow, president and chief investment officer at Mount Lucas Management Corp told Bloomberg, “As long as we see relatively benign inflation and decent but not explosive growth, we’re in a perfect environment. Today’s numbers were solid but not spectacular, and that’s perfect in an environment where really robust economic growth would not be positive.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,919.60 (+0.48%)
  • S&P 500- 1,981.60 (+0.50%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,527.51 (+0.43%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,162.49 (+0.35%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,091.11 (+1.57%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,779.31 (+0.56%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,334.28 (+0.96%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,449.79 (+0.83%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 25.122.95 (+0.67%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,374.77 (+0.01%)

Stocks in Focus

The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) gained more than 5% to $88.28 per share after the largest home improvement retailed in the United States reported strong second-quarter earnings The company posted earnings of $2.05 billion or $1.52 per share and $23.81 billion in revenue. Home Depot Chairman and CEO Frank Blake said, “In the second quarter, our spring seasonal business rebounded, and we saw strong performance in the core of the store and across all of our geographies.”

The stock price of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) climbed more than 2% to $51.60 per share due to optimism that it would also deliver outstanding quarterly financial results tomorrow. The company is also benefitting from the consecutive positive notes for its sector peers.

The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX) jumped more than 8% to $58.57 per share after delivering better than expected earnings results for the second-quarter. The owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls department stores posted $517.62 million in net income or $0.73 in earnings per share on $6.92 billion in revenue. During the year-ago quarter, TJX Companies recorded $479.56 million in net income or $0.66 per share on $5.44 billion in revenue.