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Stock Market News for February 6, 2013

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Benchmarks are back in green territory following a series of positive earnings reports coupled with indications that the European economy is improving. Monday’s trading session witnessed one of the biggest sell-offs since November 2012 amidst concerns about a revival of the Euro zone crisis. Meanwhile, the ISM Services Index declined marginally in January. All ten S&P 500 industry groups finished in the green, the biggest gainer being the Consumer Staples sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.7% to close the day at 13,979.30. The S&P 500 rose 1.0% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,511.29. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.3% to end at 3,171.58. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 6.5% to settle at 13.72. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 6.7 billion shares, higher than the daily average of 6.45 billion shares in 2012. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners on the NYSE. For 70% stocks that advanced, 28% declined.

Better-than-expected earnings from major companies were largely responsible for benchmarks finishing in the green yesterday. Shares of cereal maker giant Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) inched up 0.7% after it reported a quarterly loss lower than the Street’s estimates. Tech-giant Computer Sciences Corporation (NYSE:CSC) reported robust earnings which beat expectations. Shares of the company surged 9.2% following these strong earnings. A cost reduction exercise implemented by the company helped earnings beat estimates following which it revised its outlook for fiscal 2013.

Another promising earnings report came from Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL). Profits of the company increased 13% on account of better sales of beauty products in domestic and emerging markets. Shares of the company increased 6% after it beat the Street’s estimates.

In other news, Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) has decided to go private and has entered into a deal with a consortium for $24.4 billion. Silver Lake Partners is one of the investors in the buyout and has invested $1 billion. Shares of the company increased 1.1% following these developments.

Markets suffered on Monday following investor concerns about a revival of the European debt crisis after the yield on Spanish and Italian bonds increased. However, new European data suggests an improvement after an index of manufacturing and service businesses touched its highest level in ten months during January. This data acted as a catalyst to investor sentiment.

On the domestic front, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit is set to go below $1 trillion to $845 million for fiscal September 2013. This will be the first time in past five years that the deficit will be below the $1 trillion mark. On the other hand President Barack Obama insisted Congress should approve a small package for spending cuts and tax reforms.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Supply Management said the index for the non-manufacturing sector declined in January to 55.2 from revised December figure of 55.7. This was slightly below the consensus estimate of 55.8. Business activity index decreased to 56.4 from 60.8 whereas new order declined to 54.4 from 58.3. But employment index increased to 57.5 from 55.3. 

The Consumer Staples sector emerged as a winner among the top ten industry groups of S&P 500. Stocks such as Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG), The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) and The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) increased 3.3%, 2.1%, 1.6%, 1% and 0.6%, respectively.

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