The stock markets in the United States rebounded today after suffering over the past few days. The markets benefited from the strength of equities in the consumer and materials industries due to positive earnings results.

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Today, the Department of Labor reported that the number of workers who filed for unemployment benefits declined by 43,000 to 265,000 for the week ended January 24. It is the lowest level for initial claims in almost 15 years, an indication that the labor market is improving continuously.

On the other hand, the Department of Commerce, Census Bureau reported that the rental vacancy rate was 7% in the fourth quarter of 2014, down by 1.2% in the same period of 2013. The homeowner housing vacancy rate was 1.9%, down by 0.2% in year-ago quarter.

The home ownership rate for the quarter declined 1.2% to 64% during the quarter. The agency also recently reported that the sales of new single-family homes were 481,000 units in December, an increase of 11.6% from the previous month. The median price of new homes sold was $298,100 in December.

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Investors are evaluating corporate earnings and economic data to determine as to when the Federal Reserve would increase interest rates. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve stated that the U.S. economic growth is solid in December, and reiterated that it would remain patient when it comes to adjusting the interest rates. There are speculations that the central bank remained on its path to raising the rates this year.

Commenting on the movement of the stock markets, Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen, Ball & Associates told Bloomberg, “It’s almost a relief rally you’re seeing here today. You had some decent earnings reports…indicating that the fears of drastic slowdown may not be as imminent as people had feared over the last two days.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,416.85 (+1.35%)
  • S&P 500- 2,021.25 (+0.95%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,683.41 (+0.95%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,190.18 (+1.28%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,371.83 (+0.38%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,810.60 (-0.22%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,737.87 (+0.25%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,606.22 (-1.06%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,595.85 (-0.07%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,481.80 (-1.23%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Harman International Industries surged more than 23% after reporting solid financial results for the second quarter fiscal 2015. The company’s earnings increased 64% of $1.79 per share. Its net sales climbed 19% to $1.6 billion.

McDonald’s Corporation gained 5% to $93.27 per share today. The company’s CEO Donald Thompson announced his retirement amid the strengthening competition in the food chain industry, food safety scandals, strengthening dollar and weak economy in Europe, which are negatively affecting the financial performance of McDonald’s.

The shares of Omeros Corporation surged more than $23.63 per share. The biopharmaceutical company announced its plan to raise as much as $80 million in stock offering. The company plans to sell 3 million shares and additional warrants.

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