A rally in oil prices is sending the overall U.S. equity market higher.
The S&P 500 is up 17 points to 1,935, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 132 points to 16,524 and the Nasdaq is up 46 points to 4,550. The S&P Retail ETF is up 44 cents to $41.49 and gold has dropped $18.50 to $1,207 an ounce. Oil surged to over $33 a barrel.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.4 percent after the government tossed its top securities chief Xiao Gang. He is being blamed for the $5 trillion market rout and a failed circuit breaker system for stock trading. He is being replaced by Liu Shiyu, who was chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China.
In Europe, the euro zone manufacturing number hit a 13-month low, although it doesn’t seem to be affecting any of the major markets. All are higher as mining companies and financial stocks have risen. The U.K. currency is taking a pounding after Prime Minister David Cameron revealed a date, June 23, for a referendum on deciding whether the country should end its European Union relationship.
Groupon Inc. stock is popping over 6 percent to $4.37 on rumors of Alibaba taking a bigger stake in the company or buying it outright. Alibaba revealed last week that it had bought a 5.6 percent stake in Groupon and had become the company’s fourth-largest shareholder. Groupon stock has lost 50 percent of its value over the past year, but in the last five days the value has shot up over 37 percent on the news of Alibaba’s interest.
VF Corp.’s price target was lowered at Barclay’s to $72 from $78. The analyst is keeping his overweight rating on the stock. The company missed estimates for its earnings last week as the warm winter hurt sales of outerwear. The stock is up over 1 percent today at $59.40, but has lost 21 percent of its value over the past year.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. was initiated at market perform with a price target of $58 at Cowen & Co. The analysts believe the company is on the right track, but has a lot of catching up to do. “We like the progress J.C. Penney is making and will continue to monitor improvements as opportunities to get more constructive on the stock, but the risks outweigh the returns in the near-term in our view,” the note said. The stock is up slightly by 8 cents to $7.40.
Kit and Ace laid off 10 percent of its workforce in Vancouver, according to Reuters Canada. The company was started by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s wife Shannon and son JJ in 2014 and quickly grew into a 61-store chain. The company is still in search of a chief executive officer following the departure of Darrell Kopke in November. Paul Wilson (unrelated) is the interim ceo. The chief operating officer position is open as well. The company also only plans to open 10 stores this year as it slows its expansion.