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Market Update

Markets in U.S. and Europe Advance in 4-Day Week, U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 1:33 PM ET April 02 2015

1:30 PM New York – Market indexes in New York and in Europe rebounded on the last day of 4-day week. Crude oil price edged lower as Iran, EU and the U.S. are nearing an accord on nuclear talks. U.S. trade deficit in February narrowed to $35.4 billion and weekly jobless claims declined 20,000.

Stocks traded sideways after two days of decline and ahead of 3-day weekend as investors look to protect gains of the last six years.

U.S. and European markets are closed tomorrow for Easter holiday and the U.S. Department of Labor is scheduled to release monthly payrolls data tomorrow.

Economists are looking for a jobless rate to remain unchanged at 5.5% and net job gains in March to decline to 245,000 from the 295,000 increase in February.

Seasonally adjusted weekly jobless claims declined 20,000 to 268,000 from the previous week’s unrevised claims of 288,000, the Department of Labor said today.

Trade deficit in February narrowed to $35.4 billion from the revised $42.7 billion in January. February exports fell $3 billion and imports slid $10.2 billion from January, the Department of Commerce reported today.

On Wall Street trading, Tollbooth Strategy Index rose 0.2% or 21.78 to 10,445.28.

S&P 500 index gained 6.82 or 0.3% to 2,066.50 and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.48 or 0.1% to 4,886.39.

Crude oil in New York trading fell 60 cents to $49.49 a barrel and gold plunged $8.50 to $1,199.70 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

Rite Aid Corporation (RAD) climbed 5% or 43 cents to $9 after the retail drugstore chain said same store sales in March jumped 4.3% and front-end same store sales increased 2.5%. Prescription count at comparable stores gained 2.5%.

Pharmacy same store sales, which included an approximate 167 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions advanced 5.1%.

Total drugstore sales in the month climbed 4.1% to $2.03 billion from $1.95 billion in March 2014.

Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) rose 9 cents to $41.42 after the specialty retailer will raise more than $2.5 billion by selling 254 stores of the Sears and Kmart to a real estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties to cash infusion and improve its balance sheet.

European Markets

In London trading, FTSE 100 index gained 0.5% or 34.76 to 6,844.26 and in Frankfurt the DAX index edged up 0.02% or 2.36 to 12,003.74.

In Paris, CAC 40 index rose 0.3% or 15.66 to 5,077.88.

For the shortened-week, in London the FTSE 100 index declined 2.7% and in Frankfurt the DAX index slipped 0.5%.

In Paris, CAC 40 index fell 0.4%.

Bollore SA slipped 0.6% to €4.86, the France-based diversified company’s chairman Vincent Bollore invested €568 million to increase its stake in Vivendi SA to 12.01% from 10.2% or acquired 24.6 million shares at €23.08 per share.

Bollore acquired additional stake to fend off hostile takeover from the U.S.-based Peter Schoenfeld.

On March 26, the company increased stake in Vivendi to 10.2% from 8.15% or acquired 27.7 million additional shares at the price of €22.85 for an investment of €632 million that represented market value of €3.2 billion.

Playtech Plc increased 1.6% to 789.16 pence after the U.K.-based online gaming and sports betting software provider agreed to acquire 91.1% stake in TradeFX Ltd for €208 million in cash and payment of up to €250 million based on earnings milestones.

The transaction is expected to close on May 31.

Tate & Lyle Plc jumped 2.7% to 624.50 pence after the U.K.-based food and industrial ingredients provider forecasted adjusted pretax profit for the year ending in March to be less than the previous estimate between £230 million to £245 million released on September 2014.

The company said net debt may increase to £500 million at the end of March, higher than the £466 million at the end of December quarter, on rebuilding inventories.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc