The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session higher today. The markets rallied as investors are becoming more optimistic that the standoff between Greece and the European Union related to the bailout negotiations is alleviating.

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Greece is planning to request for a six months extension of its current bailout agreement, according to the latest reports from on information from Greek government officials. The current bailout program will expire on February 28.

The European Union gave the Greek government a deadline last Friday to decide whether it would continue the current bailout, which requires strict austerity measures.

Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged a vote for the cancellation of its austerity measures during the same day. He said, “We will not succumb to psychological blackmail.”

[drizzle]Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble stated earlier, “None of my colleagues so far understands what Greece wants… whether Greece itself knows is not clear either.”

The markets also benefited from the statement of Kuwait Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair that the oil prices will continue to recover. The Brent crude oil climbed 1.81% to $62.51 per barrel and the WTI crude oil rose 1.44% to $53.53 per barrel today.

“We were expecting oil prices to recover in the second half, but they recovered faster than what we expected. I expect oil prices to keep improving,” said Al Omair during a press conference on Monday.

Commenting on today’s market momentum, Randy Frederick, Managing director of Trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab told Bloomberg, “We’ve had a pretty sizable rally here. Oil prices were heading lower earlier and now they’ve turned around. The developments in Greece are big, but I’d say this is more oil.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,047.51 (+0.16%)
  • S&P 500- 2,100.34 (+0.16%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,899.27 (+0.11%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,222.51 (-0.05%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,438.44 (+0.15%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,898.13 (+0.60%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,895.62 (-0.25%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,987.09(-0.10%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,784.88 (+0.24%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,522.32 (+0.65%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of GoPro surged more than 12% to $50.75 per share following the expiration of the lock-up period of 76 million shares today. Insiders are now allowed to sell their stake in the company. Northland Capital Markets Gus Richard issued a Buy rating for the shares of GoPro with a $70 price target. He considers the sports camera maker “an extremely well-branded, high-growth consumer franchise.”

The shares of FireEye climbed nearly 4% to $43.82 per share today. Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reiterated their Buy rating for the stock and raised their price target to $49 per share.

Herbalife gained more than 5% to $34.43 per share driven by the report that George Soros boosted its stake in the company.  Pivotal Research Group analyst Tim Ramey maintained its Buy rating for the stock with a $75 price target. However, he reduced his fourth quarter earnings estimate for the company to $1.22 per share.

The stock value of Medtronic increased almost 4% to $78.07 per share after reporting better-than-expected earnings driven by the launching of its new products. The company reported non-GAAP earnings of $1.12 per share on $4.6 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.

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