The stock market had a pretty great day today. Just about everybody was happy. Except for the Alibaba shareholders.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,416.8, +225.4, (+1.3%)
- S&P 500: 2,021.2, +19.1, (+0.9%)
- Nasdaq: 4,683.4, +45.4, (+0.9%)
And now the, top stories:
1. Alibaba shares got smoked after the company released its quarterly financial results. Earnings, excluding nonrecurring items, climbed to $US0.81 per share, which was much higher than the $US0.74 expected by analysts. Revenue at the Chinese e-retailer surged 40% to $US4.22 billion, but analysts were expecting $US4.42 billion. “Gross merchandise volume across our China retail marketplaces grew 49% year on year, and our annual active buyers increased to 334 million in 2014, an increase of 45% year on year,” CEO Jonathan Lu said. “Our unrivalled leadership and momentum in mobile continued — we added 48 million active users sequentially and delivered over US$1 billion in mobile revenue during the quarter.” The stock closed down 8.7%.
2. Yahoo shares followed Alibaba lower. Yahoo owns 15% of the Chinese online retailer. Shares closed down 5.8%.
3. Good news about jobs. Initial jobless claims fell to 265,000, the lowest level since April 15, 2000. This was also much lower than the 300,000 expected by economists. Economists warn that seasonal distortions around the holidays including the Martin Luther King holiday may be artificially keeping the number low.
4. Pending home sales unexpectedly fell 3.7% in December, missing expectations for a 0.5% increase. “Total inventory fell in December for the first time in 16 months, resulting in fewer choices for buyers and a modest uptick in price growth in markets throughout the country,” the NAR’s Lawrence Yun said. “With interest rates at lows not seen since early 2013, the strength in existing-sales in upcoming months will largely depend on the willingness of current homeowners to realise their equity gains from the past couple years and trade up.”
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