U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday as investors cheered a cease-fire agreement between Russia and Ukraine and firming oil prices.
“I think the market is taking its cue off Putin’s announcement of a cease-fire agreement,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. He also expected a compromise to come out of Greece and the euro zone soon.
Greece was unable to reach a deal with the European Union to stay in an EU bailout program, the Eurogroup’s Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Wednesday, noting talks will continue on Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 100 points, with Cisco (CSCO) gaining more than 9 points on better-than-expected earnings to lead gains. The Nasdaq traded more than 1 percent higher after opening at its highest level since March 2000, the peak of the dotcom bubble. Apple (AAPL) continued to trade at all-time highs. The S&P 500 traded at highs, up more than 1 percent for 2015. Read More Greece, euro zone may be in a stalemate, but… Crude oil futures settled up $ 2.37, or 4.9 percent, to $ 51.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in early afternoon trade.
“I think we need to hold $ 50 in order to hold that upside,” said JJ Kinahan, chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) (^VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded near 16.
Futures trimmed some gains as retail sales for January came in weaker than expected , down 0.8 percent and near December’s 0.9 percent decline. Retail sales ex-autos declined 0.9 percent, though when excluding vehicles and gasoline, sales posted a moderate increase to 0.2 percent last month after a revised 0.3 percent drop in December.To be sure, Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, noted that the ex-autos and gas retail sales increase of 0.2 percent was encouraging, showing that the data “net-net (was) higher than expected at the core.” Jobless claims were 304,000 last week, more than expected and an increase of 25,000 from last week. “Weaker data is jibing exactly with what we’ve been measuring in the last few quarters of (declining) estimates,” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout.
Read More Looking for solid ground in Greece, US data Business inventories increased 0.1 percent in December , below estimates of a 0.2 percent increase. Sales decreased 0.9 percent. Natural gas inventories fell 160 billion cubic feet for the last week, below the five-year average of 178 billion cubic feet. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow Jones Global Indexes: .DJI) traded up 90.97 points, or 0.51 percent, to 17,953, with Cisco (CSCO) leading gains and American Express (AXP) the greatest of six blue chip laggards. The credit card company fell about 6 percent on news that Costco (COST) will not accept American Express in the United States starting next April, after the two companies failed to reach an agreement on renewal terms . The S&P 500 (^GSPC) traded up 17 points, or 0.84 percent, to 2,086, with materials leading gains and utilities leading two laggards. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) traded up 50 points, or 1.03 percent, to 4,850.Read More Port shutdown: These stocks likely to lose About four stocks advanced for every decliner on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 462.8 million and a composite volume of nearly 3 billion as of 2:44 p.m.Gold futures rose 90 cents, or 0.07 percent, to $ 1,220.40 an ounce.The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield fell to trade near 1.98 percent. The U.S. dollar fell against major world currencies. In central bank news, Sweden lowered interest rates and announced a 10 billion kronor ($ 1.2 billion) bond-buying program while the Bank of England hinted a rate hike could come next year.
Breakfast cereal giant Kellogg (NYSE:K) reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales as weak demand in Europe and Asia Pacific overshadowed a revival in U.S. sales. Online travel agency Expedia (EXPE) said early Thursday it would buy rival Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) at $ 12 a share for total of about $ 1.33 billion, as it looks to increase its customers base in a highly competitive industry. Time (TIME) gave a downbeat sales outlook for 2015, on weaker circulation. Time, which publishes magazines like People and Sports Illustrated, sees a three to six percent drop in revenue this year, more than the consensus forecast for a two percent decline. Time earned an adjusted 73 cents per share for its latest quarter, five cents below estimates. Avon Products (AVP) earned an adjusted 20 cents per share for its latest quarter, missing estimates by five cents, and revenue was also below analyst projections. Currency fluctuations had a significant impact on Avon’s results, and the company said that will continue to be the case this year as it does most of its business outside the U.S. McGraw-Hill Financial (MHFI), the parent of Standard and Poor’s, earned 95 cents per share for its latest quarter, a five-cent beat, while revenue was above estimates as well.
Read More Early movers: TIME, AVP, RIO, NLSN, CSCO & more In other corporate news, Tesla (TSLA) unexpectedly reported a quarterly loss after the bell on Wednesday, but shares rose in after-hours trade on better-than-expected shipments. Among the few remaining companies yet to post earnings, AIG (AIG), Kraft Foods (KRFT) and Groupon (GRPN) report after the bell.
CNBC’s Peter Schacknow and Reuters contributed to this report.
On tap this week: Thursday Earnings: AIG, CBS, DaVita, Digital Realty Trust, Kraft Foods, Republic Services, Groupon, King Digital, Regal Entertainment, Shutterfly, Zynga 4:30 p.m.: Fed balance sheet/money supply Friday Earnings: ArcelorMittal, Brookfield Asset Management, J.M. Smucker 8:30 a.m.: Import and export prices 10:00 a.m.: Consumer sentiment More From CNBC.com: Greece: Who wants what and why 7 ways to trade oil and Tesla Year of the hack? A billion record compromised in 2014
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