Oil prices collapsed after government data showed the biggest weekly build of US inventories since 2001. Stocks closed higher but little changed after the release of the Minutes from the March FOMC meeting.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,893.57 +18.15 (0.10%)
- S&P 500: 2,080.75 +4.42 (0.21%)
- Nasdaq: 4,944.53 +34.29 (0.70%)
And now, the top stories on Wednesday:
- Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s March meeting show that members are divided on when to raise rates. The key passage: “Several participants judged that the economic data and outlook were likely to warrant beginning normalization at the June meeting. However, others anticipated that the effects of energy price declines and the dollar’s appreciation would continue to weigh on inflation in the near term, suggesting that conditions likely would not be appropriate to begin raising rates until later in the year, and a couple of participants suggested that the economic outlook likely would not call for liftoff until 2016.”
- But New York Fed president William Dudley sees a June hike still in view “if the next jobs report is strong,” and “if second-quarter GDP look like it is bouncing sharply,” according to Reuters.
- West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell by more than 6% to as low as $US50.39 per barrel. Data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US oil inventories rose by 10.9 million barrels last week, the biggest weekly increase since 2001. That brings inventories to a total of 482.4 million barrels, the highest for this time of year in at least 80 years.
- Drugmaker Mylan has offered to buy Perrigo for $US205 per share in a deal worth $US28.9 billion. Perrigo shares jumped by more than 24% in afternoon trading after the announcement, while Mylan shares rose by up to 14%. The deal “offers clear and compelling strategic and financial benefits, has sound industrial logic, and would create a global leader with a unique and one-of-a-kind profile,” Robert Coury, the executive chairman of Mylan, wrote in a public letter to his peer at Perrigo.
- Lions Gate shares fell by over 6% following the announcement Tuesday that it’s largest shareholder is selling 10 million shares. MHR Fund Management owns 35% of the entertainment company. Lions Gate also lowered its guidance on profits to the lower end of its previously guided range of $US1.2 billion to $US1.3 billion. Stifel analysts said the company probably doesn’t expect “Insurgent” and the latest “Hunger Games” to do very well.
- Tesla shares gained more than 2% after the company unveiled the Model S 70D electric car. It can go from 0-60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Pricing starts at $US67,500, and now all Model S cars will be available in three colours: Ocean Blue, Obsidian Black, and Warm Silver.