Wednesday, 28 August 2013

U.S. Stocks Rise as Energy Shares Gain Amid Syria Concern

By Nick Taborek & Namitha Jagadeesh - Aug 28, 2013 11:43 AM PT
U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding from an eight-week low yesterday, as energy shares rallied on higher oil prices amid growing speculation there will be a military strike against Syria.
Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. jumped more than 2.1 percent. TiVo Inc. climbed 5.4 percent after the maker of digital-video recorders posted a profit. Joy Global Inc. lost 4.5 percent as the mining equipment maker said orders for new equipment are declining. PulteGroup Inc. and D.R. Horton Inc. declined at least 1 percent as pending sales of existing homes unexpectedly fell in July.
Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab Corp., talks about U.S. markets. She speaks with Tom Keene, Sara Eisen, Sam Grobart and Alix Steel on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)
Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Group LP's advisory services unit, talks about market risks, the outlook for bonds, and corporate finance. Wien, speaking with Tom Keene, Sara Eisen and Alix Steel on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance," also discusses the U.S. economy and strategy. (Source: Bloomberg)
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The S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent to 1,636.42 at 2:41 p.m. in New York. The index was trading near its average level for the past 100 days, after slipping below it yesterday for the first time since June. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 53.14 points, or 0.4 percent, to 14,829.27.
“We’re simply just seeing a little bit of bounce back from what was very bad action yesterday,” Walter Todd, who oversees about $950 million as chief investment officer of Greenwood Capital Associates LLC in Greenwood, South Carolina, said by phone. “There are probably starting to be opportunities that are being created in certain segments of the market as a result of this sell-off, and investors are wisely looking to see if they can take advantage of some of those.”
The S&P 500 slid 1.6 percent yesterday to the lowest level since July 3 amid concern the U.S. will take action against Syria. The U.S. and its allies are moving closer to a military strike in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last week. President Barack Obama plans to release an intelligence assessment this week and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain will put forward a draft resolution at the United Nations today authorizing action to protect civilians.

NATO Allies

Obama officials are in consultations with NATO allies including the U.K., FranceGermany, and Turkey as well as Arab nations to determine which countries would participate in a military strike on Syria, said an administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss war planning efforts.
“This is an environment where people are really focused on one variable which is going to dominate all others, and that, today, is Syria,” Lawrence Creatura, a Rochester, New York-based fund manager at Federated Investors Inc., which oversees about $380 billion, said in a phone interview. “The reflex is to sell during times of sudden unexpected conflict. Weakness derived from temporary events can often times be a great buying opportunity.”

Fed Stimulus

The S&P 500 has lost 4.3 percent from a record high on Aug. 2 amid growing speculation theFederal Reserve will reduce its monthly bond buying. Minutes of the central bank’s July meeting released Aug. 21 showed policy makers supported stimulus cuts this year if the economy improves. Fed stimulus helped push the S&P 500 up as much as 153 percent from its March 2009 low, as better-than-estimated corporate earnings also fueled gains.
Data today showed fewer Americans signed contracts in July to buy previously owned homes. The index of pending home sales dropped 1.3 percent, the most this year, after a 0.4 percent decrease in June, according to figures from the National Association of Realtors. Economists forecast no change in the gauge from the month before, according to a median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 8.5 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day. U.S. exchanges are heading for the second-slowest month in at least five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. An average of about 5.5 billion shares changed hands each day this month. That’s about 100 million shares more than last August.

Volatility Index

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), or VIX, fell 2.4 percent to 16.36. The equity volatility gauge has surged 38 percent since a five-month low on Aug. 5.
Seven out of 10 main industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, with energy companies jumping 2.1 percent to pace advances. Chevron advanced 2.7 percent to $121.99. Exxon Mobil rallied 2.1 percent to $88.68. Marathon Oil Corp. increased 4 percent to $34.72. Oil futures climbed 0.9 percent to the highest since September 2008.
TiVo (TIVO) advanced 5.4 percent to $11.57 after reporting second-quarter net income of $268.9 million, including legal settlements, compared with a $27 million loss a year earlier. Chief Executive Officer Tom Rogers said in an interview the company will be profitable for the remainder of the fiscal year ending January and through the following year.

Zale, Express

Avago Technologies Ltd. surged 5 percent to $38.39. The supplier of components for wireless communications reported third-quarter revenue of $664 million, exceeding the $617.25 million average forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Zale Corp. rose 24 percent to $11.11. The jewelery retailer reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat analyst estimates as same-store sales jumped 5.6 percent.
Express Inc. (EXPR) gained 7.9 percent to $21.37. The specialty retailer said same-store sales rose 6 percent in the second quarter, beating analysts’ estimates, and raised its profit forecast.
Tiffany & Co. retreated 3.9 percent to $77.70, extending its loss for the week to 5.2 percent. The world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer yesterday reported second-quarter sales that were short of analyst estimates.
Joy Global lost 4.5 percent to $49.02. The mining equipment producer’s CEO, Mike Sutherlin, said the market “has become even more challenging,” as customers’ declining cash flows are resulting in “significantly” reduced capital expenditures. Caterpillar Inc. slid 0.5 percent to $82.25.
An S&P index of homebuilders fell 0.9 percent. PulteGroup lost 1 percent to $15.44 while D.R. Horton declined 1 percent to $17.81.
Taser International Inc. (TASR) fell 6.3 percent to $11.10, after rising 38 percent in the past 11 trading days. The maker of stun guns declined after JPMorgan analysts downgraded the shares to neutral from overweight.
To contact the reporters on this story: Nick Taborek in New York at; Namitha Jagadeesh in London at
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at; Lynn Thomasson at