Members of the opening committee perform during a rehearsal for the Opera Ball in Vienna February 23, 2014. The 18 to 24-year-olds spend weeks rehearsing for a performance that lasts just three or four minutes but has a huge audience at home and abroad. The traditional Opera Ball takes place on February 27, with tickets starting at 250 euros ($340) and a box as much as 18,500 euros ($25,000). Picture taken February 23, 2014.
Stocks rose. The S&P 500 hit a new all-time high, its 47th record over the past 12 months.
S&P 500: 1,854.34, +9.18, +0.50%
Dow: 16,272.26 +73.85, +0.46%
Nasdaq: 4,318.93 +26.87, +0.63%
And now the top stories:
Initial jobless claims unexpectedly climbed. The figure hit 348,000 for the week, up from 336K. Analysts had expected just 335K.
But capital goods orders also unexpectedly jumped. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft — an important measure of corporate spending — unexpectedly climbed 1.7%. Economists were looking for a 0.2% decline.
Janet Yellen told a Senate committee that weather may not be driving all the recent weak economic data. She deviated from her prepared remarks to say that the Fed is "attending to signals" of whether economy is progressing "in line with our expectations." She said the economy was "beginning to recover." And she noted the Fed has no authority to regulate Bitcoin because the digital currency does not flow through Fed network banks.
JC Penney shares surged 25% on strong earnings. T he department store chain delivered its first quarterly net profit since July 2011.
Sears said it lost $358 million during the holiday quarter, but shares spiked. The retailer also said it was cutting costs, and expected stronger sales this month, the AP said. $SHLD climbed 7%.
Shares in Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, have been ripping higher of late. Investors seem to be banking on a resolution to the firm's mortgage woes that unlocks the underlying value of the assets left on its books.
Economic data keeps sliding in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics report, capital expenditures in the country fell 5.2% quarter-over-quarter in Q4. Manufacturing was in the worst shape followed by mining.
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