Oil has risen to its highest level all week at $31 a barrel and it’s bringing stock prices along with it.
Investors have decided that China and Japan will probably move forward with some type of stimulus plan, thus creating more demand for oil. The Bank of Japan is said to be considering monetary easing and that sent the Nikkei up by 5.9 percent. China’s market closed up 1.3 percent.
The S&P 500 is moving higher by 28 points to 1,897, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up by 208 points to 16,091 and the Nasdaq is up by 84 points to 4,556. The S&P Retail ETF is rising by over 1 percent to $40.38.
Europe is also pinning its hopes on comments from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi about easing actions at its March meeting. Forgetting that Draghi has done this before, the Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped 2.6 percent. The French CAC is higher by 3.3 percent, the U.K. FTSE is up 2.4 percent and the German DAX is up 2.1 percent.
American Express is dropping by over 8 percent to $57.01 after the credit card company reported a 38 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. Sales of $8.4 billion were in line with analyst estimates, but nonetheless the company plans to reduce costs by $1 billion over the next two years. American Express cited intense competition in the payments industry, lower gas prices and a stronger dollar as reasons why the company is struggling. The company is also losing its Canada Costco relationship.
Wal-Mart stock is up over 1 percent to $62.67 after a judge ruled that the retailer must rehire 16 workers that were fired for participating in strikes. Administrative law judge Geoffrey Carter said that the company violated labor law by “disciplining or discharging several associates because they were absent from work while on strike.” On top of that, Wal-Mart must pay the employees back pay. The company must also tell workers in the stores where the workers were fired or disciplined that such organizing activity is protected.
A massive winter storm is headed to the Northeast this weekend. Certainly many retailers still sitting on lots of leftover winter inventory are hoping that shoppers will realize they need new hats, gloves, scarves and snow boots. The storm is expected to bring over a foot of snow to Washington, D.C., and possibly a foot to New York City. Maybe shoppers will buy superwarm loungewear if they choose to hunker down and stay inside. Airlines are already cancelling flights in some cities.