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Market Update

U.S. and World Markets Lack Direction, Euro at 11-Year Low


Author: Nichole Harper
ticker.com
Last Update: 12:52 PM ET March 05 2015

12:50 PM New York Stocks lacked direction in New York and the dollar edged higher. ECB President Draghi offered sovereign bond purchase plan details and also lifted growth and inflation targets. Crude oil and gold eased.

Stocks in New York lacked direction as the euro plunged to a low in more than 11 years and China lowered its estimate of economic growth to 7% from 7.5%.

The euro eased to $1.098 after the ECB President Mario Draghi lifted economic growth and inflation targets and released details of sovereign bond purchase program to revive growth across the euro zone.

Revised nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at 2.2% annual rate during the fourth-quarter. Output grew 2.6% and hours worked rose 4.9% in the quarter, the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

In a separate report the department said seasonally adjusted weekly jobless claims jumped 7,000 to 320,000 from the previous week unrevised claims of 313,000.

On Wall Street trading, Tollbooth Strategy Index gained 0.4% or 37.16 to 10,741.64.

S&P 500 index rose 3.65 or 0.2% to 2,102.09 and the Nasdaq Composite Index increased 18.51 or 0.4% to 4,985.88.

Crude oil fell 36 cents a barrel to $51.19 and gold fell 90 cents to $1,200 an ounce.

U.S. Movers

AbbVie Inc (ABBV) declined 3% or $1.82 to $58.46 after the drug maker agreed to acquire cancer biotech Pharmacyclics Inc and its flagship asset Imbruvica, effective treatment for hematologic malignancies for about $21 billion.

The tender offer is expected to close in mid-2015.

Shares of Pharmacyclics Inc surged 10.5% to $254.78.

Citigroup Inc (C) slid 20 cents to $53.47 after the financial service provider divested its stake of 10% in Turkey-based Akbank TAS for $1.2 billion at a loss.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) jumped 2.8% or $4.10 to $151.27 after the discount store operator reported net sales in the fourth-quarter ending on February 15 jumped 4% to $26.87 billion form a year ago period. Comparable store sales in the quarter increased 2% and for the month of February comparable sales rose 1%.

Net income in the quarter surged 29.2% to $598 million or $1.35 per diluted share compared to $463 million or $1.05 from the same quarter last year.

The retailer said net sales in February climbed 4% to $8.18 billion from $7.90 billion a year ago period.

Kroger Co (KR) soared 4.9% or $3.41 to $73.06 after the convenience store operator reported total sales in the fourth-quarter ending in January climbed 8.5% to $25.2 billion form a year ago period. Comparable store sales in the quarter increased 2% and for the month of February comparable sales rose 1%.

Net income in the quarter rose 2.1% to $518 million or $1.04 per diluted share compared to $422 million or 81 cents from the same quarter last year.

European Markets

European market indexes traded higher after ECB President Mario Draghi lifted growth estimate for the next three years and said achieving inflation target is within reach.

European Central Bank now estimated consumer prices in the current year to remain unchanged and rise to 1.5% in 2016 and 1.8% in 2017.

The central bank also estimated gross domestic product to expand 1.5% this year and accelerate to 1.9% in 2016 and 2.1% in 2017.

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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