After a volatile trading session, U.S. stocks closed flat on Wednesday. Investors are concerned regarding the future of Greece in the euro zone and whether the country can reach an agreement with its creditors to avoid a default in their debt. Today, the new Greek anti-austerity government will meet with finance ministers in Brussels yet markets are not expecting a deal to be reached. On Tuesday stock markets had rallied on news that a 6-month extension might be given to Greece for its bailout program but this was strongly denied by Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble, the German Finance Minister. The current bailout plan for the country expires on the 28th of February and there is vast concern that the country will run out of money before this date. At the close of trading in the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended flat, off only 6.6 points at 17,862.14, while the S&P 500 index (SPX) also ended flat at 2,068.53. The technology and consumer stocks led gains. Breaking the trend was the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) which advanced 0.4 percent, to 4,801.18. This tech-heavy index was boosted by a 2.3% gain in Apple Inc. which is the most heavily weighted stock on the index.
With all eyes on Greece and the anticipation of the country being able to reach a deal with creditors to extend their bailout program, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded higher against most major currencies. With officials from the European Union and Greece expected to meet later today, the euro declined and the EUR/USD traded at 1.1303, down 0.16 percent. On the 28th of February, Greeceâ€™s current bailout is due to expire and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made it clear that he does not want this extended. As a result, negative investor sentiment has been prompted regarding the future of Greece in the euro zone. In other currency news, the USD traded higher against the Swiss franc with USD/CHF up 0.08 percent and trading at 0.9269. Against the British pound, the greenback held steady with GBP/USD at 1.5257 while against the Japanese yen, the U.S. dollar traded higher at 120.34, up 0.77%. This came after the yen weakened after Haruhiko Kuroda, the Governor of the Bank of Japan, said that the Group of 20 Nations did not criticize Japanâ€™s monetary easing program which was a clear indication to continue on the path of monetary stimulus. Also, the U.S. dollar index rose to 95.13, up 0.29 percent.
During the extended trading session on Wednesday, the shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA, -3.90%) moved between gains and losses after the company reported quarterly results. Shares dropped 3.2 percent to trade at $206.01 after the electric-car maker reported a loss of 86 cents a share, or $107.6 million, for the fourth quarter compared with a loss of 13 cents a share, or $16.3 million, a year earlier. Meanwhile, Tesla stated that the wider loss in the 4th-quarter was as a result of increased spending by the company in order to boost cross over to the mass market as well as production. In their report, Tesla met its production target of 35,000 vehicles which was helped by the production of 11,627 Model S electric sedans. In the quarter, Tesla delivered 9,834 Model S vehicles. The company also reported a loss of 13 cents a share, excluding stock-based compensation and other items, which was a lot better compared to Teslaâ€™s projected loss of between 30 and 35 cents a share. On the upside, the companyâ€™s revenue was at $956.7 million, up 55 percent. Over the past 12 months, Teslaâ€™s stock has risen 8 percent.
In Asian trading on Thursday, crude oil prices declined after data showed a sharp increase in U.S. crude oil stockpiles with no real global demand. In their weekly report, the Energy Information Administration said that crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose by 4.9 million barrels in the week ended February 6. This was much higher than the expected increase of only 3.8 million barrels. As a result, crude oil for March delivery declined 0.22 percent to trade at $49.25 a barrel on the NYMEX while Brent oil for delivery in April dropped 3.61%, or $2.08, to trade at $55.42 on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.