The stock markets in the United States ended the trading session with mixed results today. The Dow Jones and Russell 2000 gained 0.08% and 0.06%, respectively. The S&P 500 dropped 0.8% and the NASDAQ fell 0.2%.

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Yesterday, the markets rallied after Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said, “a high-degree of policy accommodation remains appropriate to foster improvements in labor market condition, and to promote a return of inflation toward 2% over the medium-term.”

The decision of the finance ministers of the European Union to approve a package of new economic measures for Greece that would extend its current bailout program also helped pushed the markets higher yesterday.

Commenting on the market trends, Matt Kaufler, portfolio manager at Federated Clover Value Fund told Bloomberg, “We’ve had a great run and we’re still up around the new highs,” It’s not uncommon to take a brief pause.”

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Today, the weekly data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed the country’s commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased 8.4 million barrels for the week ending February 20 increased by 8.4 million barrels from the previous week.

According to the agency, the current U.S. crude oil supply reached its highest level over the past 80 years. The oversupply of oil worldwide was the primary reason behind the declining price (down 48%) last year.

In an interview with Bloomberg, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink commented that it is unlikely that the oil prices will return to $100 a barrel. According to him, the cost production is becoming lower because of new technology.

Fink said, “This is an oil shock that was supply-driven and the supply was created by new technology. New technology is going to create a permanent reduction in the cost of petroleum products.” He estimated that the price of oil could still go up between $70 and $80 per barrel.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,224.57 (+0.08%)
  • S&P 500- 2,113.57 (-0.08%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,967.14 (-0.02%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,234.67 (+0.06%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,541.78 (-0.15%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,935.38 (-0.21%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,210.27 (+0.04%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,585.20 (-0.10%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,778.28 (+0.11%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,478.73 (-1.24%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of First Solar increased 7% to $58.54 per share after reporting better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter. The company posted $1.89 in earnings per share compared with the $$0.76 per share estimated by analysts.

Hewlett-Packard Company plummeted almost 10% to $34.67 per share after the company warned that its financial performance would be negatively impacted by foreign currency exchange rates. HP estimated that FX rates would hurt its earnings by $0.09 per share next quarter. The company also reduced its cash flow guidance by $3 billion.

Sprint Corporation gained more than 7% to $4.96 per share. The company announced yesterday that its San Antonio network was ranked first place in network reliability and call performance by RootMetrics, an analytics firm.

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