The stock markets worldwide ended the trading session higher today driven by the report that the economy of the European region improved.

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The stock markets in the United States closed to record levels. The S&P 500 closed 2,096.99 points, higher than its highest level on December 29. The NASDAQ ended the trading at 4,893.84 points, its highest level in nearly 15 years. The Russell 2000 also closed to an all-time high at 1,223.21 points.

The statistics officer of the European Union in Luxembourg reported that gross domestic product (GDP) of the region increase 0.3% in the fourth quarter, higher than 0.2% forecasted by analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Last month, the European Central Bank (ECB) recently announced a€1.1 trillion quantitative easing (QE) program to prevent deflation in the region. According ECB President Mario Draghi, the inflation “continued to be weaker-than-expected” in the region.

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Draghi also previously stated that the “recent declines in oil prices strengthener the basis for economic recovery to gain momentum.” However, he emphasized that the continued high unemployment, sizeable unutilized capacity and the unnecessary balance sheet in the private and public sectors will likely dampen the eurozone’s economic recovery.

Commenting on the latest EU GDP report, Anna Maria Grimaldi, an economist at Sanpaolo SpA told Bloomberg, “For the first time in two years, we can say that the region is going for solid growth. The euro area is supported by the very strong tailwinds of the fall of the euro, the fall of oil prices and the fall of interest rates sparked by ECB QE.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,019.35 (+0.26%)
  • S&P 500- 2,096.99 (+0.41%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,893.84 (+0.75%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,223.21 (+0.57%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,447.59 (+0.88%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,873.52 (+0.67%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,963.40 (+0.40%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,913.36(-0.37%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,682.54 (+1.07%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,469.83 (+0.78%)

Stocks in Focus

ConAgra Foods declined 4.37% to $34.83 per share today after the company reduced its earnings guidance for 2015. The company is now expecting to generate full year earnings in the range of $2.13 to $2.18 per share. ConAgra also announced the appointment of Sean Connolly as new CEO.

The stock price of Groupon increased 6.84% to $7.97 per share today. The daily deals company reported better-than-expected financial results for the fourth quarter. Groupon posted adjusted earnings of $0.06 per share on $925.4 million in revenue. Analysts expect the company to generated $0.03 in earnings per share on $908.4 million in revenue.

The shares of Freescale Semiconductor rose 8.16% to $37.53 per share. The company announced that it hired investment bank advisors to explore a potential sale.

 

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