The stock markets in the United States rebounded today after suffering declines over the past two days. The market rally was propelled by the statement of European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi that the $1.2 trillion quantitative easing (QE) program will be successful.

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Draghi is confident that the QE would boost the economic growth in the European region. He said it would be the fastest growth since 2007. The ECB would also achieve its target for the region within three years, according to Draghi.

Thomas Harges, a senior economist at Barclays told Bloomberg, “Draghi had a tough battle to reach the QE compromise, now of course he wants to promote it as much as possible. He gave a strong statement that QE will deliver.”

Economist at the ECB raised their outlook for economic growth in the region to 1.5% from 1% this year. They also estimated that the European region would grow 1.9% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2017.

[drizzle]According to Draghi, ECB’s forecasts are “conditional on the full implementation of all our policy measures.” The central bank will implement its QE until September 2016, but it is prepared to extend it if necessary.

In the United States, the consumer confidence increased last week from its lowest level this year. The Bloomberg Consumer Index climbed to from 42.7% to 43.5% for the week ended March 1.

Gary Langer, president of Langer Research Associates said the consumer confidence increased probably in “celebration of the stock market advances.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 18,134.44 (+0.21%)
  • S&P 500- 2,101.08 (+0.12%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,982.81 (+0.32%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,233.95 (+0.26%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,618.21 (+0.97%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,961.14 (+0.61%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 11,504.01 (+1.00%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 18,751.84 (+0.26%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,193.04 (-1.11%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,496.34 (-0.98%)

Stocks in Focus

Mallinckrodt gained more than 4% to $121.84 per share after announcing its agreement to acquire Ikaria for $2.3 billion. The company said the acquisition would strengthen its presence in hospitals.

Kroger gained more than 7% to $74.31 per share after reporting better-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter. The company posted $1.04 in earnings per share compared with the $0.90 consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts.  Kroger also issued a strong outlook as it expects to achieve an 11% increase in earnings to $3.90 per share for the fiscal 2015.

The stock price of Puma Biotechnology surged more than 16% to $240.99 per share. Analysts at Citigroup raise their price target for the stock from $253 to $255 per share. The firm also maintained its Buy rating for the stock.

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