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Market Update

S&P 500 Advance, Cautious European Trading


Author: Nichole Harper
ticker.com
Last Update: 12:21 PM ET November 18 2015

[11:45 AM New York City, New York S&P 500 and Nasdaq jumped more than 0.8% and more Fed officials talked about the possible rate increase after the next Fed meeting in December. U.S. housing starts fell to a seven-month low in October.

Market indexes on Wall Street advanced and more Fed officials talked about a possible rate increase after the next Fed meeting in December.

U.S. housing starts declined to a seven-month low in October and single-family home building in the South dropped.

Housing starts in October declined 11% to 1.06 million annual rate from the revised September estimate and fell 1.8% from a year ago month rate of 1.08 million, the Department of Commerce said.

Housing permits in October jumped 4.1% from the revised September rate and rose 2.7% from a year ago month rate to 1.1 million.

On Wall Street, Tollbooth Strategy Index increased 54.24 or 0.5% to 10,835.24.

S&P 500 index rose 9.59 or 0.5% to 2,060.03 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 24.87 or 0.5% to 5,010.88.

Crude oil in New York added 55 cents to $41.22 a barrel and gold slid $1.38 to $1,068.92 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG), the packaged food maker plans to spin off its frozen potato products under the name of Lamb Weston.

The deal will be structured as a tax-free spin-off and consumer brands business will be renamed as Conagra Brands, Inc.

For fiscal 2015, Lamb Weston generated revenues of about $2.9 billion and in the commercial foods segment revenues generated about $1.8 billion.

The company also plans to reduce 1,500 jobs and shifting the headquarters to Chicago to trim the annual budget of $300 million.

The transaction is expected to complete in the fall of 2016.

Lowe''s Companies, Inc (LOW) rose 46 cents to $73.31 after the home improvement retailer reported sales in the third-quarter ending in October jumped 5% from a year ago to $14.36 billion.

Comparable store sales in the quarter gained 4.6% and comparable sales for the U.S. home improvement business increased 5%.

Net income in the quarter soared 25.8% to $736 million or 80 cents per diluted share compared to $585 million or 59 cents per share from the same quarter last year.

The home improvement retailer forecasted total sales for the year to increase 4.5% to 5% and comparable sales to jump 4% to 4.5% and diluted earnings per share of about $3.29.

Target Corporation (TGT) declined 4.6% or $3.32 to $69.63 after the discount stores operator reported net sales in the third-quarter ending in October increased 2.1% from a year ago to $17.61 billion.

Comparable store sales in the quarter rose 1.9% and comp stores sales in signature categories advanced 2.5%.

Net income in the quarter surged 56% to $549 million or 87 cents per diluted share compared to $352 million or 55 cents per share from the same quarter last year.

For the fourth-quarter the retailer forecasted earnings per share in the range of $1.48 to $1.58.

Target lifted earnings per share forecasted for the year between $4.65 and $4.75 from earlier estimated range f $4.60 to $4.75.

European Markets

European stock markets fell Wednesday as the market frowned at an expensive deal between Air Liquide and Airgas.

At the same time, leisure and travel stocks continued to lose ground, while a police raid against terrorists in Paris contributed to the cautious mood of investors.

Seasonally adjusted construction activities in September slid 0.4% in euro zone area and activities were stable in the wider EU28 region compared to a month ago, according to first estimates from Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union.

In London trading, FTSE 100 index slid 3.35 to 6,265.41 and in Frankfurt the DAX index fell 25.79 or 0.2% to 10,944.30.

In Paris, CAC 40 index slipped 32.73 or 0.7% to 4,904.58.

Air Liquide SA declined 6.6% to 115.50 after the France-based industrial-gas services provider agreed to acquire the U.S.-based Airgas Inc. for about 12.5 billion or $13.4 billion including debt.

Wirecard AG jumped 2.2% to 45.26 after the Germany-based electronic payment services provider said revenues in the nine-month period ending in September surged 27.5% from a year ago to 540.9 million.

Net profit in the period soared 32.5% from a year ago to 98.27 million and diluted earnings per share increased to 0.80 from 0.61.

The company forecasted operating profit for the year between 223 million and 232 million compared to earlier estimated range of 220 million to 232 million.

Asian Markets

Stock in Tokyo opened nearly 1% higher but the yen weakened as investors focused on the two-day policy meeting of Bank of Japan that began today.

The Japanese regulators likely impose the penalty of more than 7 billion yen on Toshiba Corp for its accounting scandal before the end of the month, the Nikkei news said.

Toray and Uniqlo agreed to extend strategic partnership for the next five years and target to sales of about 1 trillion yen.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average edged up 18.55 to 19,649.18 and the broader Topix index added 0.42 to 1,586.53.

The yen weakened to 123.26 against a dollar.

Fast Retailing Co Ltd rose 0.2% to 47,480 yen after the communication services provider plans to offer bonds for as much as 370 billion yen for retail investors in December.

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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