Markets closed up on Wall Street: DJI +1.39% SP500 +1.34% Nasdaq +0.73% Gold +0.57% Oil +3.57%.
Officials finally caught a break in Japan (NYSE:EWJ). The nuclear reactor is being doused with water and investors got hopeful this morning. Then, the US produced some positive economic data as outlined below. Basically, markets opened up, had a little lunchtime lull while traders caught the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and then markets closed strong.
Today’s markets rallied because:
1) Japan (NYSE:EWJ) had their first positive development. However, the US did encourage citizens to leave Japan and Japanese residents in Tokyo have been fleeing in fear. Shorts covered their EWJ positions on the prospect of the nuclear crisis ending, but there wasn’t enough reason to attract serious buyers considering this disaster is far from over. However, there was relief for shares of Toyota Motors (NYSE:TM), Sony (NYSE:SNE), and Honda Motors (NYSE:HMC). Don’t Miss: The 10 Highest Risk Nuclear Power Plants in the US.
2) Widely watched economic indicators flashed positive signals. Weekly Initial Jobless claims are seen as a leading indicator for the larger BLS Unemployment number, so the 4% drop to 385,000 was cheered by Wall Street. Then FedEx (NYSE:FDX) announced earnings and offered strong comments about the global economy. Core CPI also came in tame, so it removed worries about inflation.
3) Oil (NYSE:USO) stormed back above $100 while Banks (NYSE:XLF) may get their groove back. Although the media has been obsessed with Japan (NYSE:EWJ), Libya is still amidst a horrible civil war and tensions continue to escalate in Bahrain. Oil (NYSE:USO) gushed a huge 3.57%. Then at the end of the day the WSJ reported “The Federal Reserve intends to inform some U.S. banks (NYSE:XLF) on Friday that they passed a new round of stress tests and are free to raise dividends for the first time since the financial crisis.” That’s great news for JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).
Now that you’re in the know, good luck using logic or reason to predict tomorrow’s market activity.