U.S. markets on Fed watch opened higher this morning, but then drifted lower by the early afternoon. When the Federal Reserve announced at 2 p.m. that it was leaving interest rates unchanged, the markets ascended from their early afternoon lows to finish slightly higher on the day.
The Federal Reserve was tight-lipped about when it might raise interest rates, indicating that some moderate progress was recently made on job gains, household spending and other economic measures. But softness in business fixed investment, unemployment levels and inflation are keeping rates low for the moment. The Fed also downgraded its view on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
However, Janet Yellen noted that markets are overly focused on the timing of their first rate hike, as opposed to the (gradual) pace of rate increases to come, and that conditions conducive to a hike have not yet been achieved.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were all higher by nearly 0.2%. Utilities led sectors today and most were seeing green.
Partnerships and acquisitions continue to drive stocks higher. Tripadvisor Inc (TRIP), Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc (KYTH) and Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU) are a few of the latest stocks to get that boost, making them three of today’s best.
TripAdvisor Inc (TRIP)
Shares of TRIP stock were booking profits after TripAdvisor announced the formation of a partnership with Marriott International Inc. (MAR) to allow users of TRIP’s web portal to book rooms in any of Marriott’s 4,200 worldwide hotels.
Said Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, “Our new agreement demonstrates how the growth strategies for our two companies are aligned in the travel space.”
TRIP stock had been languishing since March, prior to today’s announcement. Technically, TRIP stock looks a lot better now, after blasting 14.6% higher, well above both its 50- and 200-day moving averages.
Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc (KYTH)
Kythera stock stormed 22% higher after Allergan PLC (AGN) announced it was buying KYTH for roughly $2.1 billion. Kythera’s male pattern baldness and double chin injection treatments were attractive additions to Allergen, which is the manufacturer of popular skin wrinkle treatment Botox. KYTH’s double-chin treatment was approved for use in the U.S. this past April.
Kythera’s value was set at $75 a share, in a combined cash and stock transaction, a 24% increase from the closing price of KYTH stock on Tuesday. KYTH has other non-approved products in their pipeline as well, which should benefit Allergen down the road.
Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU)
QIHU surged 6.2% and lifted a number of other Chinese stocks higher as well today after the Internet security software provider received an offer to sell the company to billionaire Hongyi Zhou and a consortium group that would take the company private.
The offer was for $77 in cash per American Depositary Receipt (ADR), and would be financed with a combination of debt and equity.
QIHU stock, at just above $70, is trading at its high for 2015 but sold for moroe than $124 only 15 months ago.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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