The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session higher except Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), down by 0.9% today.

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Last week, the stock markets rallied to multiple milestones. The Dow Jones reached more than 18,000 point last Tuesday, and the index maintained that level since then.  The Russell 2000 hit an all-time high on December 26. The NASDAQ also reached its highest level on the same day.

According to Bloomberg, the equities are at record level as the end of the year approaches. The positive momentum of the stocks was primarily driven by the faster than expected economic growth of the United States. Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve stated that it can be patient when it comes to raising the interest rates.

The Department of Commerce revised its GDP estimated to 5% for the third quarter, up from 3.9% last month. The GDP growth rate was the highest in more than a decade,

[drizzle]The S&P 500 is poised to record third consecutive yearly gain. The index gained 13% while the Dow Jones increased 8.9% this year.

David Tepper of Appaloosa Management said the S&P 500 is fairly valued right now. He estimated that the S&P 500 could rise as much as 10% in 2015. However, he advised investors to be aware of overvaluation in the market.

On the other hand, James Buckley, a portfolio manager at Baring Asset Management told Bloomberg, “There’s lots for investors to digest going into 2015. The focus will likely be on more macro-type events immediately. The U.S. economy is the one real bright spot. That economy is doing phenomenally well. That in itself is reason to be optimistic.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,038.23 (-0.09%)
  • S&P 500- 2,090.57 (+0.09%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,806.57 (+0.00%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,218.94 (+0.31%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,185.17 (+0.02%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,633.51 (+0.36%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,927.13 (+0.05%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,729.84 (+1.24%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,773.18 (+1.82%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,455.46 (+0.28%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Manitowoc Company Inc (NYSE:MTW) surged nearly 9% to 22.79 per share. Activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed a 7.7% stake in the company and indicated his intention to propose the separation of its Crane and Foodservices business segments into two separate companies.

The shares of Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:XENE) climbed almost 17% to $19.91 per share. Earlier this month, Jefferies raised its price target for the stock from $16 to $20 per share. The financial research firm has a Buy rating for the stock.

USMD Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:USMD) rose more than 13% to $11.40 per share, leading the gains of equities in the small-cap stars industrial goods segment. The company is a healthcare management company. It. develops, operates, and manages entities that provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and hospital-based healthcare to patients.

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