High Tech Trading, Major Merger Drive Markets Up

Trading today was slow, but all three major exchanges ended the day up slightly. The NASDAQ, with its focus on high tech stocks, made the largest gains. It ended the day at 4,950.82, up 40.59 points. The Dow was up 27.09 points to close at 17,902.51. The S&P 500 added 5.57 points and closed at 2,081.90. In overseas trading, London's FTSE fell -24.27 after making large gains yesterday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shot up over 3.5% and added 960.62 points, completing a long recovery.

Positive Outlook For Priceline And Amazon.  Online mega-retailer Amazon (AMZN) and virtual travel agent Priceline (PCLN) both released positive preliminary Q1 earnings today.
The companies are growing at a rate much faster than their brick and mortar counterparts, and have managed to maintain good profit margins despite being seen as a value for their customers. Amazon rose 6.79 points in trading today, and closed at $381.20 per share. Priceline was up 7.27 points and ended the day's trading at $1,192.25.

Mylan And Perrigo Pharma Merger Sends Share Prices Soaring.  News broke earlier today of a potential buyout in the health services sector. Mylan NV (MYL) would like to acquire the Perrigo Company (PRGO) in a multi-billion dollar deal. There is a complicating factor, with Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) having made overtures recently indicating that it would like to acquire Mylan.

The offer on the table is still complicated and incomplete, but the fact that the health services sector is robust enough to support this sort of behind the scenes deal-making should be seen as a positive sign for the sector. Mylan (MYL) rose 8.78 points today, and closed at $68.36. Perrigo (PRGO) was up over 30 points to close the day's trading at $195. Teva (TEVA), which has largely been sitting on the sidelines today, gained 2.27 points to close at $66.52.

Retail Wages On The Rise.  Recently, four major players in the retail and service sectors have announced that they'll be taking the initiative and raising their minimum wage regardless of Federal guidelines. McDonald's (MCD), Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT), and T.J. Maxx (TJX) will all be writing bigger paychecks in the coming quarter. It will be worth paying attention to the balance sheets of these four companies in particular to get a feeling for the direction that American wages are heading. If the experiment is a success, it could result in copycats companies and less wage stagnation for the entire American economy.

Prices At The Pump Could Stay Low Over The Summer.  Every indication in the market right now points to cheap gas throughout the summer. Not only has the future price for unleaded gasoline fallen consistently this month, down almost 7% to just over $1.70 per gallon, but supply is set to exceed demand for the foreseeable future. The recent economic implosion in China and India, and their much slower financial recovery -- along with crude oil from Syria hitting the marketplace for the first time since 2011 -- mean that fuel prices are likely to stay low even considering increased summer demand.
Published on Apr 8, 2015
By Aaron Phillips
Aaron Phillips is a financial researcher and journalist based out of Michigan. He regularly writes the IG Daily and IG Weekly columns.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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