The stock markets in the United States gained driven by the positive momentum the equities of the energy companies due to the increase of oil prices.

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According to Bloomberg, oil and natural gas companies rallied 1.6%, leading the gains among the ten main industries under the S&P 500.

Separately,  it has been reported that the central bank of China started providing approximately $81 billion in loans to the largest banks in the country.

Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC, commented, “The market sees the letters Q and E combined with China, and it’s Happy New Year to the money printers. That’s what the jump is; they want that game to continue.” He added, “They may not know how or why it’s happening. But get some new QE money in there, and that’s how the market reacts.”

On the other hand, the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) started its two-day meeting today. Policy makers are evaluating the current U.S. economic situation. They considering how much improvement in the labor market and inflation are needed to before implementing an increase in interest rates. The FOMC is expected to outline its quarterly economic outlook for growth, unemployment, inflation, and the benchmark federal funds rate.

Ron Anari, senior vice president of trading at ICAP PLC. opined, “At this point I think anything that comes out of the FOMC meeting can’t be negative. The market is already expecting some sort of rate change on behalf of the committee certainly by the end of spring, and if that’s the case, then economic conditions are supportive and that’s good for the market.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 17,131.97 (+0.59%)
  • S&P 500- 1,998.99 (+0.75%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,552.76 (+0.75%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,151.32 (+0.42%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,221.73 (-0.31%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,792.24 (-0.18%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,632.93 (-0.28%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15,911.53 (-0.23%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,136.01 (-0.91%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,388.77 (-1.99%)

Stocks in Focus

Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:AVNR) erased some of its gains after climbing more than 85% yesterday driven by the positive primary endpoint results of its Alzheimer’s drug. The biopharmaceutical company reported that AVP-923 significant reduced agitation among Alzheimer patients. The stock price of Avanir Pharmaceuticals declined nearly 4% to $12.06 per share today.

The shares of Humana Inc (NYSE:HUM) increased more than 3% to $132.36 per share after the company announced that its board of directors approved a $2 billion shares buyback authorization program with an expiration date in December 31, 2016. The board replaced that company’s $1 billion shares repurchase authorization.

Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) gained more than 6% to $133.36 per share after Stephens analyst John Campbell recommended an Overweight rating with a $170 price target. According to him, Zillow remains a leader in the category, and it is in the “early innings” of profitability and revenue growth.