Stocks exploded higher in afternoon trading today as the Fed finally announced it would begin 'tapering' its bond purchasing program, and keep interest rates low well beyond its stated target of a 6.5% unemployment rate. The Dow blue chips (^DJI) rallied nearly 300 points, finishing at 16,172, setting another record high. The broader S&P 500 (^GSPC) leapt 1.7% today to close at a record 1810.82. The tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 46 points to finish at 4070.06, now up nearly 35% in 2013. In addition, U.S. housing starts rocketed to a six-year high. Housing starts rose 22.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.09 million units.
Ford Motor Co.'s (F) stock took a dive today after it revealed that it may not reach its goal for an 8% to 9% operating margin by 2015 or 2016, blaming Europe's recession and currency devaluations in Venezuala. The automaker's North America profit expectations were also lowered because, warning that its pretax profit may fall up to 18% next year. Ford ended the day falling 6%.
AMC Entertainment (AMC) had a successful first day of trading today with the stock jumping 5.7% to finish at $19.05 after it priced its IPO at $18 a share, which was on the lower end of the expected range. The movie theatre chain is now valued at $3.45 billion including debt.
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