On Tuesday the markets in Europe finally made gains and reached three-week highs after better-than-expected economic data was released in Germany. The German economic sentiment index hit a three year high and caused investors to turn to the auto and technology industries as well as the equities market. In the US, it was reported that the index of homebuilders dropped in February. Even though sentiment was down from the previous month the index is still near its highest since 2006. The S&P also reached its highest level of about five years on merger optimism. Office Depot (ODP) and OfficeMax (OMX) are in talks and may announce a deal soon–this would greatly increase competition for industry rival Staples (SPLS). After the bell Dell (DELL) announced that they beat estimates but earnings fell 31% from the same period one year ago. Gains from Google (GOOG) also led the tech industry higher after the company’s shares hit a new high and crossed over the $800 mark. The US dollar fell against both the euro and the Japanese yen and oil futures increased by 0.8% to settle above $96 a barrel.
Word on the Street
- Homebuilder confidence falls one point in February and sends industry stocks lower.
- Potential deal between Office Depot (ODP) and OfficeMax (OMX) sends the S&P 500 higher on Tuesday.
- Euro zone markets rebound on positive economic sentiment in Germany.
- Dell (DELL) shares results after hours and sees profit drop 31%.
- The $1 billion settlement for Transocean Ltd. (RIG) is accepted by a federal judge.
- Solar Inc. (FSLR) shares gained 5.5% after increasing their outlook for the year.
- Humana (HUM) slumps after news of a proposed Medicare Advantage cut was released.
- Oil futures settle back above $96 a barrel on upbeat economic data from Germany.