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Market Update

Steady Momentum in U.S. and World Markets


Author: Nichole Harper
ticker.com
Last Update: 4:07 PM ET August 19 2014

4:05 PM New York – U.S. stocks extended gains for the second day this week after geopolitical tensions eased and oil prices remained under pressure for the third week in a row. BHP Billiton decided to spin off metals assets as the mining boom wanes and company structure becomes unwieldy. World markets remain in the upswing.

Russia and Ukraine appeared to work on a plan to ease tensions after a five-hour talk between foreign ministers of two neighbouring nations in Germany.

Also, Israel and Palestine continued the on-again off-again truce for two more days but selective Palestinian rockets firing and targeted Israeli air strike continued.

However, in international markets, oil price declined for immediate delivery and one barrel of oil decreased $1.62 to $94.79. Moreover, gold fell 0.2% and silver declined 1% and copper eased 0.5%.

Tollbooth Index gained 0.6% or 55.91 to 9,478.54.

S&P 500 index increased 0.5% or 10.72 to 1,982.48 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 20.20 or 0.45% to 4,528.67.

U.S. Movers

The Home Depot, Inc (HD) soared 4.9% or $4.13 to $87.73 after the home improvement retailer reported sales in the second-quarter ending in June jumped 5.7% to $23.8 billion from a year ago period. Comparable store sales in the quarter climbed 5.8% and comparable sales for U.S. stores were advanced 6.4%.

Net earnings in the quarter soared 14.5% to $2.05 billion or $1.52 a diluted share compared to $1.79 billion or $1.24 from a same quarter last year.

The company forecasted sales for the year to increase 4.8% and raised diluted earnings per share for the year to soar approx 20.2% to $4.52 from fiscal 2013.

European Markets

In London trading, FTSE 100 index increased 0.5% or 35.22 to 6,776.47 and in Frankfurt the DAX index jumped 1% or 90.03 to 9,335.36.

In Paris, CAC 40 index gained 0.5% or 20.45 to 4,251.10.

BHP Billiton Plc declined 4.6% to 1,972.45 pence after the diversified natural resources company reported revenue in the year ending in June rose 1.9% to $67.21 billion from $65.95 billion a year ago period.

Net income in the year soared 23.3% to $13.83 billion compared to $11.22 billion and diluted earnings per share jumped to $2.59 from $2.10 a year earlier.

The miner announced a spin off its large portion of assets worth about $15 billion including silver, aluminum, manganese and coal plants and mines to make simpler and manageable portfolio.

BHP will continue to focus on its core business including iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash operations that generate more than 90% of operating earnings. And the spin-off is expected to reduce cost and simplify operating structure.

The new company will be headquartered in Perth, Australia and employ 24,000 people and contractors. And the company’s stock will be listed in Australia and trade in South Africa and have American Depository Receipt trading in New York.

Asian Markets

Stocks in Tokyo advanced for the fifth day and Topix gained for the seventh day in a row after geopolitical tensions eased.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average jumped 127.19 or 0.8% to 15,449.79 and the broader Topix index gained 9.03 to 1,280.29.

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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