The U.S. stock markets gained today driven by optimism among investors regarding the economic growth in the country. Four Federal Reserve officials indicated that an interest rate hike is still possible before the end of the year.
Last week, the market suffered a two-day selloff after the central bank decided to keep the existing 0% to 0.25% target range for the federal funds rate. Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen explained that the recent global and economic developments such as the slowdown of the China‘s economy will probably restrain economic activity and put further downward pressure on inflation in the near-term.
Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed 0.77% to 16,510.19 points, the S&P 500 increased 0.46% to 1,966.97 points, and the NASDAQ gained 0.04% to 4,828.95 points.
Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co told Bloomberg that some Fed policymakers are coming out and trying to be transparent after the selloff last week. However, he emphasized that their statements, in some cases lead to more confusions among investors.
“There are so many brilliant people talking every day that it’s difficult to sort it all out. There’s still a tremendous amount of nervousness,” said Sichel.
During the weekend, Federal Reserve regional presidents John Williams of San Francisco, James Bullard of St. Louis, and Jeffrey Lacker of Richmond argued that the central bank could raise its key interest rate before the end of the year. On the other hand, Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart of Atlanta said the concerns regarding the global financial market are temporary. He remained confident that the Fed will raise interest rates this year.
Andrew Brenner, the head of international fixed income at National Alliance Markets commented that an interest rate hike would show confidence in the economy. According to him, the Federal Reserve confused investors by bringing in the economic situation of China and emerging markets to justify its decision to delay the interest rate hike. He added that the equity markets want to see the Fed raise rates to reduce uncertainties.
Stock market gainers
Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML) surged more than 12% to $8.19 per share. The company agreed to be acquired by Dialog Semiconductor PLC (FRA:DLG) for $4.6 billion.
The shares of Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE:WLK) increased more than 6% to $55.70 each. Investors in the company became optimistic after a senior official from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said petrochemical companies are eligible for tax exempt status. The IRS is reconsidering a proposal that would have prevented companies from converting into MLPs.
Analysts at JMP Securities upgraded their rating for the shares of Vascular Biogenics (NASDAQ:VBLT). The stock price of the clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company climbed more than 18% to $8.10 per share.
The stock price of Sky Solar Holdings (ADR) (NASDAQ:SKYS) soared nearly 15% to $7.05 per share. The Chinese solar parks developer and operator signed a deal with Hudson Clean Energy for new projects worth as much as $100 million.
Stock market decliners
The stock price of Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) dropped 10% to $73.87 per share. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries recently entered an agreement to offer $750 million senior unsecured notes due 2023. The company plans to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund its acquisition of TGG Medical Solutions.
Weatherford International (NYSE:WFT) declined almost 17% to $8.40 per share. The company announced its intention to offer additional debt and equity to raise $1 billion. Weatherford plans to use the proceeds from the offering to “pre-fund potential acquisitions and for general corporate purposes.”
The shares of Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RARE) fell nearly 14% to $111.80 per share today. Analysts at Zacks recently issued a Hold rating on the stock. The company gained more than 154% of stock value year-to-date.