It was nice to see a healthy amount of green in the stock markets today.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 15,627.3 (+187.7, +1.2%)
- S&P 500: 1,772.3 (+20.7, +1.1%)
- Nasdaq: 4,056.3 (+44.8, +1.1%)
And now the top stories:
- There was quite a bit of company-specific news today. Leading the way was Twitter, which crashed after the company published its quarterly financial results. The company’s earnings were actually stronger than expected, but management indicated that Twitter users’ timeline views were actually on the decline.
- Shares of Green Mountain Coffee exploded after Coca-Cola announced it would be taking a 10% stake in the company. “With The Coca-Cola Company as a global strategic partner in our multi-brand at-home Keurig Cold beverage system, we believe there is significant opportunity to premiumize and accelerate growth in the cold beverage category by empowering consumers with an innovative, convenient way to freshly prepare their favorite cold beverages at the push of a button,” said Green Mountain CEO Brian Kelley.
- Initially, push-button beverage company SodaStream crumbled on the news, as it appeared an 800-lb gorilla of a competitor had entered its space. But the stock actually ended up rallying. Some folks speculated that short-covering may have pushed prices higher.
- Initial weekly jobless claims fell to 331,000 from 351,000 a week ago. This was slightly better than the 335,000 level expected by economists. However, the harsh winter weather continues to distort the data. “According to MNI, the Labor Department reported no special factors but noted that data for Kansas were estimated. as an ice storm forced state offices to close,” said Barclays’ Cooper Howes.
- The number was nevertheless encouraging as investors and traders anxiously wait for Friday’s official U.S. jobs report. Economists estimate U.S. companies added 180,000 nonfarm payrolls in January. Societe Generale’s Brian Jones is looking for a 270,000 blowout number. “Weather-related and fundamental factors support our expectation for a marked pickup in job creation last month,” wrote Jones in a note to clients. “Figures collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that at 32.9o degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures nationwide were 2.1o degrees warmer than usual over the month-to-date ended January 18 — a fairly dramatic improvement from the mean 27.8o degrees (5.6o degrees below normal) suffered over the first two weeks of December. Rather than guess at the number of persons who could not work because of inclement weather in January, we decided to explicitly incorporate the NOAA series in our modelling procedure.”