After a volatile trading session, U.S. stocks ended the session on Monday with small gains. Investors seemed to shrug off the results of the Greek elections which brought the Syriza party into power and thanks to the quantitative easing program announced by the European Central Bank (ECB) last week, relative calm was seen in the global equity markets. Initially after the elections, investors were concerned that Greece might decide to leave the eurozone. As a result, the euro (EUR) plunged against the U.S. dollar (USD) but regained by Monday morning. At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) advanced by 6.1 points, or 0.03 percent to 17,678.70 while the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) also ended 13.88 points, or 0.3 percent, higher at 4,771.76. Following the upward trend was the S&P 500 index (SPX) which climbed up 5.24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,057.07.
On Monday, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded lower against most major currencies. After the winning Greek party Syriza pledged to renegotiate the terms of the country’s international bailout of €240 billion, the euro (EUR) stabilized. Boosting the currency was also the move by the European Central Bank last week to introduce a €1.2 trillion asset purchase program in order to combat inflation and slowing growth in the euro area. Meanwhile, data out of Germany yesterday from the Ifo research institute showed that business confidence in the country had improved to the highest level in six months in January. The Business Climate Index rose from 105.5 in December to 106.7 in January. This was above expectations for a reading of 106.3. In currency trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.1259, up 0.49% while the euro also traded higher against the Swiss franc and the Japanese yen with EUR/CHF up 2.66% at 1.0092 and EUR/JPY up 1.02 percent at 133.34. Elsewhere, the greenback traded higher against the yen with USD/JPY at 118.43, up 0.53 percent.
On Monday, the shares of Microsoft Corp. (MSFT, -0.36%) traded at $45.77, down 2.6 percent. This decline came after the software giant reported commercial sales which missed analysts’ expectations. Analysts were expecting commercial sales of $10.94 billion while Microsoft reported commercial licensing revenue of only $10.68 billion. The remainder of the company’s fiscal second-quarter results was in line with analysts’ expectations with the company reporting that it earned 71 cents a share, or $5.86 billion, in the fiscal second quarter. This was compared with 78 cents a share a year earlier. Meanwhile, analysts were expecting revenue to come in at $26.3 billion while Microsoft reported revenues of $26.5 billion, compared with $24.5 billion a year earlier. According to the company, their earnings declined in the quarter ended December as a result of higher costs linked to the integration of the mobile phone business which it acquired from Nokia in 2014 as well as Microsoft’s streamlining efforts and restructuring expenses. Over the last 12 months, Microsoft shares have risen almost 28 percent and their shares have already gained 1.2% since the beginning of 2015.
In Asian trading on Tuesday, crude oil prices rose. This comes as investors turn their attention to the industry petroleum stockpile data in the U.S. which is scheduled later today. On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute is expected to release estimate data on crude, gasoline and distillate stocks while on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Energy will release their stock data. Crude oil for March delivery traded at $45.13 a barrel, up 0.08 percent on the NYMEX. Meanwhile, Brent oil for delivery in March advanced 0.55 percent to trade at $49.06 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London. On Monday, the Brent oil price touched a low of $47.59 a barrel, down $1.20.