The stock markets in the United States continue to advance with that Russell 2000 close to reaching a record level today.

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Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reached above 18,000 points for the first. The index maintained that level at it closed 18,080 points today.  The Dow Jones gained around 175% during the five-year bull market that began on March 2009.

Last week, the Federal Reserve stated that it can be patient when it comes to increasing the interest rates. The statement helped the stocks trade higher. Yesterday, the markets went up significantly after data from the Department of Commerce showed that the U.S. economic growth is faster than expected. The agency increased its GDP estimate for the third quarter to 5% from 3.9% last months. Economists expected a growth rate of 4.3%

Today, the Department of Labor reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits declined by 9,000 to 280,000 for the week ended December 20. The figure shows that the labor market continues to improve.

[drizzle]Commenting on the performance of the markets, Daniel Weston, chief investment officer at Aimed Capital GmbH in Munich told Bloomberg, “The computers are trading now after a spectacular week of GDP news for markets. This week has seen the Dow go above 18,000, which is above and beyond the expectations of most in the face of the geopolitical turmoil we have faced this year.”

On the other hand, Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup said, “It’s pretty remarkable to see what the market’s done the last few days. Some of it is the illiquidity environment of this time of year, and some of it relates to the path of last resistance being up at this point.”

The equity markets closed earlier at 1:00 P.M. for Christmas Eve and will not be open tomorrow for the holiday.

 U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,030.46 (+0.03%)
  • S&P 500- 2,082.00 (+0.01%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,773.47 (+0.17%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,208.11 (+0.47%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,184.66 (-0.24%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,609.93 (+0.18%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,922.11 (+0.57%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,854.23 (+1.24%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,349.34 (+0.07%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,330.39 (-2.84%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Adamas Pharmaceuticals surged almost 10% to $16.10 per share. The company together with Actavis plc (ACT) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the new drug application for Namzaric for the treatment of moderate to severe dementia of patients with Alzheimer.

Virgin America gained more than 14% to $41 per share after several brokerage firms initiated positive views regarding the company. Analysts at Barclays and Cowen issued ratings equivalent to Buy for the stock with a price target of $42. Raymond James gave a Market Perform rating for the stock. Deutsche Bank initiated a Buy rating and $44 price target for Virgin America.

The shares of CalAmp declined more than 10% to $17.71 per share despite delivering better-than-expected profit for the third quarter. The company posted adjusted earnings of $0.25 per share compared with the $0.23 per share expected by analysts. However, its revenue was lower at $63.2 million compared with $63.4 million expected by analysts.

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