The stock markets in the United States rallied today driven by the strength of equities in the retail and technology sector. The S&P 500 erased a monthly decline and restored a gain for the year. The index moved between gains and losses this month. It is now up 1.1% for 2015. Today, investors made investments in the three, top-performing groups of the S&P 500—discretionary, healthcare, and technology.

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In an interview with Bloomberg, Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, commented, “I think today’s early price action is a follow-through on yesterday’s midday rally off the low. Most traders are focused on just getting to Thursday and turning the page on an underwhelming 2015 and starting work on 2016 next Monday.”

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index increased from 92.6 to 96.5 for the month of December.

In a statement, Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumer confidence improved in December, following a moderate decrease in November. As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market.”

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Franco added that consumers expect little change in business conditions and the labor market next year. They also have mixed expectations regarding their financial situation in the future. She also noted that “optimists continue to outweigh the pessimists.”

Separately, data showed that the prices of homes in 20 cities increase at a faster rate. The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values rose 5.5% for the year ended October. San Francisco, Denver, and Portland recorded the highest gains in home values at 10.9%

David Blitzer, the Chairman of the S&P index committee, said, “Generally good economic conditions continue to support gains in home prices. Among the positive factors are consumers’ expectations of low inflation and further economic growth as well as recent increases in residential construction.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17, 720.98 (+1.10%)
  • S&P 500- 2,078.36 (+1.06%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,107.94 (+1.33%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,160.72 (+1.09%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,314.28 (+1.77%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,314.57 (+0.96%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,860.14 (+1.94%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,982.23 (+0.58%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 21,999.62 (+0.36%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,761.34 (+1.15%)

Stocks in Focus

Amazon.com gained 2.78% to $693 per share, surpassing its previous all-time high of $584.82 a share. In fact, the e-commerce giant climbed as much as $696.44 per share today. The company benefited from the comment of Detwiler Fenton & Co. that a testing with the Sprouts Farmers Market will probably become a key growth driver next year.

Anavex Life Sciences Corp declined more than 10% to $6.28 per share. The clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company reported its net loss for fiscal 2015 was $12.1 million or $0.65 per share.

The stock price of Pep Boys climbed more than 8% to $8.79 per share after Icahn Enterprises boosted its offer to acquire the company for $18.50 per share or $1 billion in cash.

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