The stock markets in the United States gained driven by better than expected retail sales data that increased optimism regarding the economy.  The sales of the retail industry in the United States improved as consumers benefited from the declining gas process and the improvement in the labor market.

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The Department of Commerce reported that the U.S. retail and food services sales advanced 0.7% to $449.3 billion (adjusted for seasonal variation, holiday and trading-day differences.

On the other hand, the Department of Labor reported that number of people who applied for unemployment benefits for the week ended December 6 was 294,000, down by 3,000.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Larry Peruzzi, director of international trading at Cabrera Capital Markets LLC said, “ When you see a big decline like we did yesterday, we’re poised for a little bit of bounce back, and retail sales are helping.”

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Peruzzi added, “Globally, we’re still one of the bright spots. Retail sales are always an indication that consumers are feeling good.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) reduced its 2015 demand forecast for crude oil to 28.8 barrels per day. The price of crude oil dropped 4.5% yesterday and suffered another 1.9% decline today to $59.75 per barrel.

Francisco Blanch, commodity chief at Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) recently stated that the OPEC is “effectively dissolved” after the organization failed to stabilize the prices of oil during its last meeting.

According to Blanch, “The consequences are profound and long-lasting.” He predicted that the price of oil will drop to as low as $50 per barrel over the next few months. The free market is expected to set the price of oil globally, which could lead to disorderly trading and price swings that would benefit oil producers in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,596.34 (+0.36%)
  • S&P 500- 2,035.33 (+0.45%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,708.16 (+0.52%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,166.96 (+0.44%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,159.11 (+0.26%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,461.70 (-0.59%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,862.53 (+0.64%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,257.40 (-0.89%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,312.54 (-0.90%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,183.01 (-1.20%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Urban Outfitters, Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) climbed 7.6% to $32.29 per share. The company said its same-store sales will be at “low-single-digit” percentage positive for the fourth quarter. An analyst at Janney Capital markets noted that the retailer’s sales are tracking at the higher end of the firm’s guidance.

Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) gained 8.67% to $16.10 per share after Starboard Value disclosed a 5.1% stake in the company. The activist investor will likely push a merger between Staples and Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP), according to CNBC based on information from people familiar with the matter.

The shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) increased more than 2% to $77.73 per share. Topeka Capital analyst Victor Anthony predicted that Instagram, the photo and video-sharing platform owned by the social network giant will reach 1/3 of its size in two years.

 

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