The stock markets in the United States started December on a positive note as investors weigh economic data to determine the potential decision of the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

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Today, data showed that the U.S. manufacturing contracted in November. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its national factory index declined to 48.6 last month from 50.1 in October.

Steven Murphy, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in Toronto, told Reuters, “Manufacturing is being pummeled by the stronger dollar and the weakness of global demand, but the other 88 percent of the economy continues to perform well. This won’t prevent the Fed from raising interest rates at the mid-December meeting.”

On the other hand, Joe Manimbo, a senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington, commented that the U.S. manufacturing data was “surprisingly poor.” According to him, I think coming on the heels of the Chicago PMI it suggests the stronger dollar was starting to gnaw at the U.S. economy.”

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U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17, 888.35 (+0.95%)
  • S&P 500- 2,102.63 (+1.07%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,156.31 (+0.39%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,204.13 (+0.50%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,479.64 (-0.76%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,395.65 (+0.62%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,261.24 (-1.06%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 20,012.40 (+1.34%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,381.35 (+1.75%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,591.70 (+0.71%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of TerraForm Power surged more than 32% to $9.15 per share. Appaloosa Management sent a letter to the management of the company stating that its decision to buy higher-risk projects from SunEdison raises concern among shareholders.

Joy Global plummeted more than 13% to $13.33 per share. Ross Gilardi, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, downgraded his rating on the stock to Neutral. The analyst said the stock’s performance is restricted by the rising risk of a further devaluation of the Chinese currency and poor industry fundamentals

The stock value of Mattress Firm Holding increased nearly 7% to $52.79 per share. The company agreed to acquire HMK Mattress Holding for $780 million. Mattress Firm also released better-than-expected preliminary results for the third quarters. The company expected to achieve adjusted earnings of around $0.80 to $0.82 per share and net sales of around $699.5 million. Wall Street analysts expected the company to deliver adjusted earnings of $0.77 per share on  $647.5 million in revenue.

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