After Analyst Upgrade Nike Stocks Rally
In midday trading on Monday, the stocks of Nike Inc. (NKE, +1.01%) surged 1.3 percent. This rally came after the athletic shoe and apparel seller was upgraded by RW Baird. According to Baird, the reason for the upgrade came as a result of upbeat consumer spending as well as an increased preference for active, healthier lifestyles. Jonathan Komp, an analyst from RW Baird, raised his rating of Nike from neutral to outperform. He also increased his stock price target to $115 which is approximately 14 percent above the current Nike stock price of $100.89. In his note to clients, Komp wrote that as a result of Nike's operating fundamentals, the company would be able to capitalize on the shifts in the purchase behavior of consumers against a backdrop of upbeat consumer spending. As a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), the stock of Nike is now only 0.8 percent away from the record it reached on the 20th of March of $101.98. Over the year, stock prices have rallied 5.2 percent while the DJIA has gained 0.9% over the same period.
Things are looking up for U.S. stocks and on Monday, the main indices booked solid gains for the second consecutive session. This boost came in response to a variety of announcements on deals as well as to dovish comments from the chief of the Central Bank of China. The shares of UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH, -0.21%) rose 3.4 percent after the company announced that it will purchase Catamaran Corp. (CTRX, -0.15%) for approximately $12.8 billion in cash. Meanwhile, in a deal valued at $3.2 billion, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA, +0.84%) also announced that they would buy Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ASPX, +41.53%). At the close of trading, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) advanced 1.2%, or 56.22 points, to 4,947.44 while the S&P 500 index (SPX) also rose 1.2%, or 25.22 points, to 2,086.24. The biggest gainer was the energy sector which advanced 2.1 percent. Also on the upside was the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) which rose 1.5%, or 263 points, to 17,947.44. Over the weekend, the governor of the PBOC stated that should the economy stay soft while inflation continues to weaken, he saw ‘more room’ for China to ease policy. Chinese stocks closed at a 7-year high on Monday.
After the release of positive economic reports out of the U.S., the U.S. dollar (USD) continued to trade broadly higher against most major currencies. Comments by Janet Yellen, the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, on Friday also continued to support the greenback. In their report, the Commerce Department said that personal spending increased 0.1 percent in February after dropping 0.2% in January. This missed expectations for a 0.3% increase. Meanwhile, personal income rose 0.4% in February, above forecasts for a 0.3% increase and after gaining 0.4% in January. In a separate report, the National Association of Realtors in the U.S. reported that pending home sales rose 3.1 percent in February. This beat expectations of a 0.4% gain. Meanwhile on Friday, Fed Chair Yellen stated that while an interest rate hike would be warranted this year, the Fed might be forced to delay as a result of weakening inflation pressures. The EUR/USD traded at 1.0846, down 0.39% while the GBP/USD traded at 1.4812, down 0.54%. Against the Swiss franc, the Australian dollar and the yen, the greenback traded higher with USD/CHF up 0.23% at 0.9646, the AUD/USD was down 1.27% to 0.7657 and USD/JPY was up 0.63% to 119.90. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 98.16, up 0.55%.
In Asian trading on Tuesday, crude oil prices declined as investors now turn their attention to industry supply data out of the U.S. today as well as the progress of talks between Iran and the Western powers. Today, the American Petroleum Institute will release last week’s estimates of gasoline, distillate and crude stocks while the Department of Energy will release their data on Wednesday. WTI crude oil for delivery in May traded at $48.26 a barrel, down 0.79%, on the NYMEX while on Monday, Brent for delivery in May traded at $56.20 a barrel, down 0.37%, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).