The stock markets in the United States rallied amid investors’ speculation that the American economy is strong enough to withstand a global economic slowdown.

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The equities of companies in the healthcare and raw materials sector surged today. The Dow Jones Industrial Averages (DJIA) and S&P 500 rose 0.23% and 0.51%, respectively. The NASDAQ climbed 0.67% while the Russell 2000 gained 0.60% today.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer at Charles Schwab Investment Management commented, “Consumer and investor sentiment is pretty positive at the moment. We continue to see M&A as the topic of the day and U.S. economic data is suggesting really good stability.”

Investors’ confidence on the U.S. economy increased due to better-than-expected corporate earnings and economic data as the Federal Reserve ends is bond-buying program.

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Commenting on the market trend, Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at the private banking unit of Key Corp (NYSE:KEY) said, “Whether that’s a sign of strength or a bounce-back rally from the weakness we’ve seen, it’s still too early to tell. People are still biased towards moving money into equities and you’ve seen that flow prevent any meaningful corrections throughout the year.”

Today, data showed that wholesale prices increased unexpectedly in October as higher prices for food and services outweighed the declining energy prices.  Investors are monitoring economic data to determine as to when the Federal Reserve would increase interest rates.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,687.82 (+0.23%)
  • S&P 500- 2,051.80 (+0.51%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,702.44 (+0.67%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,171.19 (+0.60%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,120.42 (+1.16%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,709.13 (+0.56%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,456.53 (+1.61%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,344.06 (+2.18%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23.529.17 (-1.13%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 9,456.53 (+1.61%)

Stocks in Focus

Actavis plc (NYSE:ACT) climbed more than 8% to $269.60 per share after analysts at Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) raised their price target for the stock to $310 from $250 per share. The firm has a Buy rating for the stock.

The stock price of Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) dropped 1.40% to $48.54 per share after the company sealed a $35 billion merger deal with Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE:BHI). The shares of Baker Hughes were also down by more than 2% to $63.55 a share today. Market observers believed that the deal could be the start of big energy takeovers amid the declining oil prices.

The shares of SunEdison Inc (NYSE:SUNE) surged more than 29% to $21.48 per share after the company and Terra Form Power Inc (NASDAQ:TERP) agreed to purchase First Wind. The stock value of TerraForm Power also gained more than 26% to $32.75 per share.

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