Stocks held on to gains through the trading session on Friday, rallying to the best levels of the day in the final minutes to cap the four-day week in the green.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,388.66, +58.26, (0.36%)
- S&P 500: 1,955.28, +2.99, (0.15%)
- Nasdaq: 4,809.44, +13.19, (0.28%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
- Goldman Sachs’ Jeffrey Currie has a new call for oil prices : $US20 per barrel. “The oil market is even more oversupplied than we had expected and we now forecast this surplus to persist in 2016,” he wrote in a note. Currie says US and other non-OPEC producers would essentially have to go out of business for the expected supply glut to diminish. Crude oil futures fell in trading, with West Texas Intermediate crude dropping by as much as 3% to around $US44.17.
- The US oil rig count fell for a second straight week. According to driller Baker Hughes, producers idled 10 rigs, bringing the total to 652. The combined count of oil and gas rigs fell 16 to 848. Last week’s drop by 13 was the biggest in three months. Earlier this week, the monthly rig count report showed that the average total rig count for August was 883, up 17 from July.
- In economic data, producer prices were flat in August. The Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand was 0% month-on-month, and -0.8% year-on-year. Excluding food and energy costs, PPI rose 0.3% month-on-month and 0.9% year-over-year. “In one line: Third straight outsized core gain, but probably not a serious shift in the trend,” wrote Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson in a client note.
- And, the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of consumer confidence in September slipped to 85.7 from 91.9 in August, reflecting concern about the economy following last month’s stock market drop.
- Avon Products shares tumbled more than 15% to the lowest level in 25 years. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the company is in the process of selling a stake, including through an auction for a private investment in public equity, or PIPE. In Q2, the beauty-products company reported that its revenues fell 17% year-on-year to $US1.8 billion. Its North American revenues also shrank.
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