Stocks went nowhere on Thursday after dropping in morning trade European stocks fell sharply following the latest monetary policy announcement from the ECB. In morning trade, each of the major US averages was down more than 1%, but a rally through the afternoon sent the markets into the close little changed.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,801.05, -3.6, (-0.2%)
- S&P 500: 1,946.17, +0.01, (0.00%)
- Nasdaq: 4,430.19, +8.1, (+0.2%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
1. The biggest story on Thursday was Europe. The ECB announced its latest monetary policy decision, keeping interest rates unchanged, but the real action came during ECB president Mario Draghi’s press conference. Draghi didn’t give the amount of detail regarding the ECB’s asset-backed security purchase program that the market was expecting. Draghi didn’t give any detail as to the size of the potential asset purchases from the ECB, and European stocks paid the price, especially Italy, which saw shares fall more than 3.5% on Thursday.
2. The weekly report on initial jobless claims showed that claims fell last week to 287,000, better than the 297,000 that was expected by economists. Following the report, TD Securities’ Gennadiy Goldberg said, “The ongoing decline in weekly jobless claims continues to suggest that labour market slack is on the decline, with the layoff side of the labour equation remaining on a path of gradual improvement as claims hover around cycle lows.”
3. Warren Buffett appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday morning and announced a big move into the auto dealership space, announcing the acquisition of the Van Tuyl Group. Van Tuyl is the fifth-largest auto dealer operator in the US and has annual sales of about $US9 billion. Buffett said this company would be in the Fortune 500 on its own, bringing the total number of would-be Fortune 500 companies under the Berkshire umbrella to 9.5. Buffett also talked about the Burger King deal, for which he is providing $US3 billion in financing, and which he says is not being done for tax reasons.
4. GoPro shares fell more than 6% after the company’s founder, Nick and Jill Woodman, announced that they would gift 5.8 million of their personal shares of the company to a charitable foundation. The move wasn’t met kindly by investors as the Woodman’s were forced to break the 180-day lock-up expiration that typically prevents company insiders from selling shares following an IPO. CNBC reported on Thursday afternoon, however, that the founders have no plans to sell shares and were moving the stock now simply for tax reasons.
5. Stocks in Argentina got crushed on Thursday, falling more than 8% after news that the country’s central bank head Juan Carlos Fabrega resigned from his post. Thursday’s loss in the Merval index followed a sharp drop on Wednesday, bringing the index’s five-day losses to more than 13%.
6. Starboard Value, the hedge fund that issued a long presentation about Olive Garden a few weeks back, offered to buy the remaining shares of RealD it does not already own for $US12.00. RealD makes 3D glasses and the technology that enables movie theatres to show movies in 3D.
7. On Thursday, a report from Bloomberg got comment from several of the 23 people who signed a letter to the Federal Reserve urging the central bank to stop quantitative easing programs, and all of the people reached by Bloomberg declined to concede that their call for massive inflation and dollar debasement has turned out to be wrong.
8. Friday is Jobs Day in America, and expectations are for the latest report from the BLS to show that nonfarm payrolls grew by 215,000 in September. Here’s the full preview, and Business Insider will have complete coverage on Friday morning.
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