Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
Stocks bounced today with the Federal Reserve's two-day Open Market Committee on tap for this week, kicking off tomorrow. Productivity growth in the third quarter reached its fastest pace In four years, climbing to 3%, up from 1.9% in the first estimate, as worker output moved up 4.7%. Economic reports have been robust nearly across the board over the last two months as the country as added 200,000 jobs in each of the last two months. Riding those hopes of an economic recovery, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) jumped 129 points, or 0.8%, while the S&P 500 improved 0.6%.
ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM ) led the Dow out of the gate as the oil giant got an upgrade from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) . Goldman lifted its rating on the world's biggest energy company to buy, giving it a price target of $109. Analyst Arjun Murti noted a potential increase in oil and gas production. Oil production did seem to bottom out finally in its previous quarter, as Exxon reported an increase in oil production after nine straight quarterly declines. Still, the "easy oil" in the world is getting harder to find, cars are becoming more efficient, and natural gas and renewable energy is growing much faster. Exxon finished up 2% on the day.
Elsewhere, Herbalife (NYSE: HLF ) shares shot up 9.4% after a reaudit found no material changes at the multilevel marketing company. Herbalife had come under controversy after hedge fund manager Bill Ackman accused the company of being a "pyramid scheme" a year ago. The finding seems to put to rest any concerns about Herbalife, which had stemmed from Ackman's accusations. Herbalife shares have more than tripled this year as they've recovered from Ackman's blistering short presentation a year ago.
Finally, Sprint (NYSE: S ) said it was considering a merger with T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS ) , though analysts seem to think regulators would put the kibosh on a proposed merger, much like it did with AT&T's earlier attempt to take over T-Mobile. T-Mobile ended the day down 4.5% while Sprint dropped 1.4%.
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