The stock markets in the United States declined due to the contraction of order for durable goods and the disappointing results from corporations including Microsoft and Caterpillar.

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The Department of Commerce Census Bureau reported that the new orders for durable goods declined $8.1 billion or 3.4% to $230.5 billion in December.

The bureau also reported that shipment for durables goods dropped $2.6 billion or 1.1% to $246.8 billion. The new orders for non-defense capital goods decreased $7.9 billion or 9.7% to $73.3 billion last month.

On the other hand, the agency reported that the purchases of new homes in the United States rose 12% to 481,000 units in December.

[drizzle]Separately, The Conference Board index of consumer confidence went up to 102.9% in January from a revised 93.1% in December. The current rate is the highest since August 2007.

In a research note, BNP Paribas economist Bricklin Dwyer commented that “consumers are thrilled to start 2015.” He added that the “overall data support their forecast for a continued strength in consumer spending.”

Commenting on the corporate earnings results, Chad Morganlander of Stifel Nicolaus & Co. told Bloomberg that the quarterly performance of companies was primarily impacted by currency headwinds and the continued deceleration of the global economic growth. “Coupled with that, durable goods orders were somewhat disappointing, which scotches any optimism for today’s trading session,” he said.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17,387.21 (-1.65%)
  • S&P 500- 2,029.55 (-1.34%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,681.50 (-1.89%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,194.66 (-0.55%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,372.58 (-1.22%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,811.61 (-0.60%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,628.58 (-1.57%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,768.30 (+1.72%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,807.28 (-0.41%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,574.93 (-0.92%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Caterpillar fell more than 7% to $79.85 per share today.  The world’s largest construction and mining equipment manufacturer reported that its earnings for the fourth quarter declined 25% to $757 million or $1.23 per share on $14.24 billion revenue.  The company also issued lower-than-expected guidance for 2015.

Microsoft declined more than 9% to $42.60 per share after multiple analysts downgraded their rating for the stock following its weak earnings results yesterday. The software giant posted $0.72 in earnings per share on $26.47 billion in revenue.

The shares of World Wrestling Entertainment surged more than 19% to $12.50 per share today. The company announced that its WWE Network reached one million subscribers.

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