US close: Stocks surge after Fed minutes, Alcoa kicks off earnings season

Sharecast

LONDON (ShareCast) - - Fed minutes reveal dovish stance
- Indices bounce back after recent falls
- Alcoa (NYSE: AA - news) kicks off earnings season positively
- Internet, biotech stocks rebound

Dow Jones: 1.11%
Nasdaq: 1.72%
S&P 500: 1.09%

US stocks jumped on Wednesday, extending gains towards the end of trade, after minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting revealed a more dovish stance among policymakers than expected.

"The minutes were enough to see US equities continue their rebound from this week's earlier sell-off, with the rationale for the rebound being that they make any rise in rates further away than had been feared," said Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets

Sentiment was also helped by aluminium producer Alcoa, which unofficially kicked off first-quarter US earnings season by impressing investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both finished 1.1% higher while the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which has bore the brunt of the selling pressure over the last week or so, surged 1.7%, helped by decent gains from Facebook (NasdaqGS: FB - news)

Nomura strategist Bobo Janjuah said he sees the S&P 500 rising to as high as 1,950 "so risk-on I guess for another month or so". In an interview with CNBC, Janjuah said he expects the benchmark index to jump 5% over the next month but warned that a sharp drop is still looming after that.

According to the minutes of the March 18-19th Federal Open Market Committee meeting, policymakers said that the initial rise in interest rates is likely to come after current forecasts predict.

The minutes said: "A number of participants noted the overall upward shift since December in participants' projections of the federal funds rate included in the March [Summary of Economic Projections], with some expressing concern that this component of the SEP could be misconstrued as indicating a move by the Committee to a less accommodative reaction function.

"However, several participants noted that the increase in the median projection overstated the shift in the projections."

Alcoa

Alcoa's shares jumped after the company posted quarterly profits that beat expectations, though revenues came in a little light. The company maintained its prediction that global demand for aluminium will recover in sectors such as automotive, building and construction, while the commercial transportation market will be steady.

In particular, Alcoa has raised its forecast for growth this year in the global aerospace market to between 8% and 9%, from between 7% to 8% previously.

Banking heavyweights JPMorgan and Wells Fargo (Berlin: NWT.BE - news) ended with small gains ahead of their quarterly results on Friday.

The share price of social media giant Facebook rose over 7% to $62.41, registering its largest one-day gain since the end of January. The stock has now gained 10% over the past three days, after having fallen sharply from its record high of $72.03 a month ago.

Other internet stocks such as Twitter (NYSE: TWTR - news) , LinkedIn and Yahoo (TLO: YA-U.TI - news) ! also climbed.

Meanwhile, biotech names were in demand today, recovering after their recent sell-off with Regeneron and Merck (Other OTC: MKGAF - news) leading the risers.


S&P 500 - Risers
Facebook Inc. (FB) $62.41 +7.25%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $69.96 +7.11%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (NasdaqGS: REGN - news) . (REGN) $306.26 +6.92%
Celgene Corp (Berlin: CG3.BE - news) . (CELG) $147.32 +6.58%
E*TRADE Financial Corp. (ETFC) $21.18 +6.01%
Actavis plc (NYSE: ACT - news) (ACT (KOSDAQ: 131400.KQ - news) ) $201.86 +5.64%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc (NasdaqGS: ALXN - news) . (ALXN) $155.86 +5.55%
Biogen Idec Inc (NasdaqGS: BIIB - news) . (BIIB) $300.68 +5.16%
Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX) $13.54 +4.88%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $68.89 +4.62%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Intuitive Surgical Inc (NasdaqGS: ISRG - news) . (ISRG) $456.64 -6.78%
Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc (NYSE: DO - news) . (DO) $47.69 -4.16%
Hershey Foods Corp. (HSY) $98.91 -2.76%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $35.97 -2.76%
Transocean Ltd (NYSE: RIG - news) . (RIG) $40.89 -2.71%
Lorillard Inc (NYSE: LO - news) . (LO) $52.28 -2.63%
Noble Corporation (NYSE: NE - news) plc (NE) $30.55 -2.33%
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (KRFT) $56.21 -2.14%
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE: CLF - news) . (CLF) $20.43 -2.11%
Electronic Arts Inc (NasdaqGS: EA - news) . (EA) $28.16 -1.98%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Merck & Co. Inc (Xetra: 6MK.DE - news) . (MRK) $57.10 +3.74%
American Express Co. (AXP) $88.72 +2.58%
Visa Inc (NYSE: V - news) . (V) $207.54 +2.44%
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $126.88 +2.20%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM (NYSE: IBM - news) ) $196.64 +1.73%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $40.47 +1.63%
Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $85.82 +1.29%
Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE - news) . (PFE) $31.23 +1.17%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $80.47 +1.13%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $119.10 +1.10%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
AT&T Inc (NYSE: T - news) . (T) $34.92 -0.99%
Verizon Communications Inc (LSE: VZC.L - news) . (VZ) $47.98 -0.48%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $77.97 -0.27%
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) $97.33 -0.12%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Facebook Inc. (FB) $62.41 +7.25%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $69.96 +7.11%
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN) $306.26 +6.92%
Celgene Corp. (CELG) $147.32 +6.58%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN) $155.86 +5.55%
Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) $300.68 +5.16%
Monster Beverage Corp (MNST) $68.89 +4.62%
Baidu Inc (Xetra: B1C.DE - news) . (BIDU) $157.68 +4.45%
Priceline Group Inc (PCLN) $1,234.63 +3.97%
Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO) $62.47 +3.82%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) $456.64 -6.78%
Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (KRFT) $56.21 -2.14%
Vimpelcom Ltd Ads (VIP) $8.42 -0.59%
DIRECTV (Frankfurt: DIG1.F - news) (DTV) $78.36 -0.52%
Stericycle Inc (NasdaqGS: SRCL - news) . (SRCL) $113.31 -0.50%
Equinix Inc (NasdaqGS: EQIX - news) . (EQIX) $176.82 -0.37%
Ross Stores Inc (NasdaqGS: ROST - news) . (ROST) $71.44 -0.29%
CA Inc. (CA) $31.27 -0.29%
Mattel Inc (NasdaqGS: MAT - news) . (MAT) $38.47 -0.26%
Paychex Inc (NasdaqGS: PAYX - news) . (PAYX) $41.24 -0.15%

BC

View Comments (0)