Markets Flat in the Face of Rising Oil Prices
The markets were down slightly in trading today, with the Dow falling just -36.94 points to close at 18,068.23. The NASDAQ also fell, losing -17.38 points to end the day at 4,976.19. The S&P 500 was essentially flat, losing -6.21 points to close at 2,099.12. In overseas trading, markets around the world took a pounding today. The lone holdout was in Japan, where the Nikkei rose 3.93 points to close at 19,624.84.
Pall Corp Up On Bid Rumors. All it took to lift Pall Corp (PLL) 19% today was the rumor of a bid being placed on the company by one of two potential competitors.
Oil Breaks $60, Takes Transocean Up With It. The price of a barrel of crude oil topped out at over $60 today. Oil futures have been rallying lately, and ended last week at around the $60 mark. This is the first time that rising oil prices have beat $60 in 6 months.
Today also marks the first time that domestic driller Transocean (RIG) has broken the $20 per share mark in over 3 months. The company, which was among the hardest hit by falling oil prices, is still down year over year by more than 50%. In trading today, Transocean gained 3.27%, or 0.64 points, to close at $20.21 per share.
Genworth Spins Off Life Insurance, Drops Like A Rock. Genworth Financial (GNW) spun off its profitable life insurance arm into a new company, and the markets didn't like it one bit today. Life insurance, which is one of Warren Buffett's core businesses, tends to be profitable because the insurer is free to invest held premiums in order to make a profit. Genworth fell -2.62% in trading today, and closed the day down -0.22 points at $8.18 per share.
Wal-Mart Gets Creative And It Pays Dividends. Even as domestic sales fall, Wal-Mart (WMT) has been making up for the lack by increasing overseas sales, especially in China. The retailer began rolling out a new trans-Asian strategy last year and so far it seems to be working. Wal-Marts in China sell a mix of popular American and Chinese domestic brands, and tend not to sell groceries like they do stateside in Super Wal-Mart stores. At the end of trading today, Wal-Mart was up 0.86 points, or 1.10%, to $78.96 per share.