Google Invests in SolarCity
According to a report on Thursday, Google Inc. (GOOG, +2.13%) will be investing into the SolarCity Corp. (SCTY, -0.34%) fund. This fund has been setup in order to install residential solar power units and according to the report, Google will be investing $300 million into this fund. The entire program, which includes the installation of 25,000 residential solar projects, is expected to cost $750 million with Google contributing half of the money. According to the Washington Post, SolarCorp will be installing each unit free of charge and then owners will be charged a monthly fee which will be a lot less that what owners are currently paying for their traditional utility. In 2011, Google invested 280 million dollars in SolarCity. Meanwhile it seems that Google’s rival also wants in on the action and the Washington Post reported that Apple Inc. (AAPL, +1.26%) will be investing $848 million into a solar-power farm. This power-farm will be used in order to provide electricity to some of Apple’s stores and offices. As Siddharth Mundra, the renewable-energy principal at Google, said in a statement, "We're happy to support SolarCity's mission to help families reduce their carbon footprint and energy costs.”
With selling pressure from the energy sector as well as downbeat economic reports out of the U.S., small-cap companies outperformed large firms on Thursday. The Russell 2000 (RUT) which is the index that measures the performance of small-cap companies, scored its 8th record close this year while outperforming large-cap stocks by adding 0.3%, or 3.9 points, to 1,239.00. With oil prices plummeting 5.5 percent, investors quickly dumped energy company stocks and as a result, the S&P 500 index (SPX) declined 0.2%, or 3.12 points, at 2,110.74. Also on the downside was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). This blue-chip index stepped away from its record level which it reached on Wednesday and dropped 10.15 points at 18,214.42. Breaking the downward trend was the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) which advanced 0.4%, or 20.75 points, to 4,987.89. This tech-heavy index is now only twelve points away from 5,000. The biggest performer on the index was Avago Technologies Limited (AVGO) whose shares gained 14.71 percent. This came after the company released better than expected earnings as well as its purchase of Emulex Corporation (ELX) for over $600 million.
In trading on Thursday, the U.S. dollar (USD) index advanced more than 1 percent to a 3-week high. The index, which measures the USD against a basket of 6 other major currencies, advanced 1.20%, or 1.12 points, to 95.37. This came after the release of mixed data out of the U.S. In their report, the Department of Commerce in the U.S. showed that the total durable goods orders for the February increased to 2.8 percent. This beat expectations for a 1.7 percent increase. Meanwhile, core durable goods orders which excludes volatile transportation items advanced 0.3 percent. Other data showed that the CPI (Consumer Price Index) in January fell 0.7% which beat estimates. This drop in inflation marked the largest decline since the end of 2008 as well as the third decline for the CPI in the last 3 months. On Thursday, the Department of Labor in the U.S. reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending 21 February increased to 313,000, up 31,000. Last week, the revised total was at 282,000. In currency trading, the euro weakened against the greenback with EUR/USD trading at 1.1186, down 1.54 percent. Against the Japanese yen and the British pound, the USD traded higher with USD/JPY up 0.50% at 119.49 while GBP/USD declined 0.80% to trade at 1.5404.
In early trading in Asia on Friday, crude oil prices gained. This came as Japan showed growth in industrial output which signaled demand growth from this major oil importer despite retail sales and jobs data missing expectations. In Japan, the national core CPI increased 2.2 percent which was below the expected 2.3 percent year-on-year for January. Also, the January unemployment rate increased to 3.6%, compared to the expected rate of 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, household spending fell 5.1 percent in January year-on-year. Crude oil for delivery in April advanced 1.55 percent to $48.92 a barrel on the NYMEX. Also, Brent crude for April delivery declined to $60.53 a barrel, down 1.10 points or 1.78 percent on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).