Stocks rallied to record highs on Friday as the big question marking hanging over markets in the last few weeks — Greece’s bailout agreement with its European creditors — was resolved on Friday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,138.3, +152.5, (+0.8%)
- S&P 500: 2,110.1, +12.7, (+0.6%)
- Nasdaq: 4,955.9, +31.3, (+0.6%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
1. We have an agreement in Europe. On Friday, Greece and its European creditors announced a deal to extend Greece’s bailout program by four months. Under the terms of the agreement, Greece must present a list of proposed reform measures on Monday, which the Eurogroup will review, a process that the Eurogroup hopes to conclude by April. At a press conference on Friday, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem called this agreement a “positive” outcome. You can find the full text of the agreement here.
2. The announcement out of Europe on Friday follows what was a long week in Europe, with a report from a French paper saying that Dijsselbloem and Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis had a “heated confrontation” on Monday during a meeting of European finance ministers.
3. The latest rig count data from oil driller Baker Hughes was released on Friday, showing that the number of oil rigs in use fell by 37 last week to 1,019, the lowest since July 2011. Combined oil and gas rigs fell by 48. Since hitting a peak of 1,609 in October, the number of oil rigs in use is down by 37%, and in its earnings announcement last month Baker Hughes said that during the last three oil downturns the rig count has declined by 40%-60%.
4. Wall Street was still digesting the biggest corporate news of the week, Wal-Mart announcing that it would raise wages for 500,000 hourly employees, and in a note to clients on Friday, analysts at Credit Suisse said that Wal-Mart announcement is a clear move for the retailer to re-establish itself as a leader within the industry. The firm also said that Wal-Mart’s move is likely to pressure some of its other retail peers.
5. In an email on Friday, NYSE Rich Barry nailed it on how closely the market was watching the Greece saga, and how we’d know if there was a deal or not. Barry wrote that a trader passed him a note writing, “‘This is insane! They should run these negotiations like when they vote for the Pope – no one’s allowed to leave the room until the smoke is billowing!’ … You don’t even have to read the headlines, just watch what the market does and you’ll know if a deal is done or not.” And record highs followed a deal.
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