STOCKS RISE: Here's what you need to know

Stocks closed the session higher on Thursday although they generally drifted lower for most of the day after opening the day sharply higher.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,600.57, +85.15, (0.49%)
  • S&P 500: 2,057.96, +11.28, (0.55%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,938.40, +28.64, (0.58%)

And now, the top stories on Thursday:

  1. A software update caused the outage at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. According to an update on the NYSE’s “market status history” page on Thursday, the exchange started rolling out a software release ahead of a scheduled industry test on Saturday. Everything worked fine at first, until issues came up in late-morning trade, causing the exchange to halt trading at 11:32 a.m. ET. Trading resumed after 3:00 p.m.
  2. China’s Shanghai Composite had its biggest one-day rise since 2009. It closed up more than 6%. Chinese authorities put in place several measures, including a suspension of IPOs, to arrest the plunge in the market, which is now down nearly 40% from its June 12 peak.
  3. Initial jobless claims rose to 297,000 last week (versus 275,000 expected,) the highest since the week of February 28. The prior period’s tally was revised up by 1,000. Economists say the increase is seasonal. In a note to client after the release, Barclays wrote: “Between the holiday week and the seasonal retooling shutdowns at auto factories that are typical this time of year, we are inclined to look through the volatility in this morning’s report.”

  4. PepsiCo reported second-quarter profits that topped estimates, helped by growth in its beverages business. The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $US1.33 (versus $US1.24 estimated, according to Bloomberg) on sales of $US15.92 billion (versus $US15.8 billion.)
  5. Procter & Gamble announced it is merging 43 of its brands with Coty for $US12.5 billion. Coty will take on brands in P&G’s cosmetics and fragrances business, which include CoverGirl makeup and Gucci fragrances. The New York Post reported last month that Coty had won an auction for some of P&G’s businesses. At the time, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts estimated that the deal could “more than double Coty’s sales.” According to P&G, the transaction will lead to a one-time gain of $US5 billion to $US7 billion. Coty shares slid as much as 10% in trading.
  6. Goldman thinks it is time to sell Shake Shack shares. In a note Thursday, analysts downgraded the stock to “Sell” from “Neutral,” maintaining their price target of $US37. The analysts said the stock is too expensive, and the IPO lockup expiration is coming July 29, and stocks typically underperform in the period leading up to this.

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