The stock markets in the United States slightly declined except the NASDAQ, which recorded a small gain today.

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Yesterday, the markets closed at record levels due to speculations that the economy can withstand a global slowdown.

Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller, Tabak & Co LLC commented, “The bond market is closed so it’s keeping things more subdued. If we’re up today that would be the fifth day in a row and we haven’t had that since summer.”

During an interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Surveillance, Abby Joseph Cohen, president at Goldman Sachs Global Market Institute predicted that the S&P 500 will reach 2,150 points next year.

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Cohen said, “The view basically is determined by the outlook for the economy, growing at 3 percent, S&P earnings increasing at high single-digit.” Cohen added that the estimate “could move higher based upon all the inflows we’re seeing from non-U.S. investors.”

The current estimate of Goldman Sachs is higher than its previous estimate that the S&P 500 could reach 2,050 driven by stock buybacks. The firm also recently stated that cash spending of S&P 500 will increase by 12% to $2.3 trillion next year, and the cash return to shareholders will continue.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,596.89 (-0.10%)
  • S&P 500- 2,036.82 (-0.07%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,653.14 (+0.03%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,179.14 (-0.04%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,104.59 (+0.32%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,627.40 (+0.24%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,369.03 (+0.18%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,124.11 (+2.05%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23.808.28 (+0.27%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,558.61 (-0.28%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) increased  almost 11% to $2.75 per share after Jefferies upgraded its rating for the stock to Buy citing the reason that its mobile games business will help boost advertising revenues. Other research firms reiterated their Underperform rating after the company reported its quarterly earnings.

The shares of Juniper Networks, Inc. (NYSE:JNPR) declined more than 5% to $20.28 per share after its CEO Shaygan Kheradpir resigned  from his position following a review by the board of directors of his leadership and conduct related to a particular negotiation with a customer. Juniper Networks and Khedaphir have different perspectives on the issue and the review led to his resignation.

Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NASDAQ:NYSE:RAX) surged more than 13% to $42.25 per share after the company delivered better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. The company posted $0.18 in earnings per share on $459.8 million in revenue. Wall Street analysts have a consensus estimate pf $0.16 in earnings per share on $458.4 million in revenue. Rackspace also indicated its plan to repurchase its shares worth as much as $500 million over the next two years.

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