U.S. stocks continued their year-end rally, making slight gains today as investors await tomorrow’s Fed meeting – the last of the year. While a change is not expected tomorrow, the meeting could provide hints of the Fed’s intentions for the coming year.
In another light trading day, the major movement came in the form of news and speculation about takeovers – Sabre Holdings , known for its tourism website Travelocity.com, rose after multiple private equity firms said they were interested in buying the company. On the Nasdaq, Biomet shares also popped on buyout speculation.
Other big movers today: Time Warner rose to multiyear highs after the stock was upgraded by Prudential. Shares of biotech drug maker Nuvelo took a pounding following an announcement that a new blood-thinning drug failed clinical trials and another study was put on hold. Several analysts downgraded Nuvelo after the announcement.
And Citigroup moved to a 52-week high amid ongoing speculation that a major restructuring is in the works at the world’s largest bank. Citigroup won’t comment and now shareholders are looking ahead to Thursday’s analyst meeting for any potential news of a shake-up.
The U.S. dollar continued to fall against the euro today – spurred by remarks from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that the dollar will likely remain weak until the national deficit is reduced.
And as an earnings season preview - financial heavyweights Goldman Sachs , Lehman Brothers, and Bear Stearns are all due to report corporate earnings this week. Investors expect that strong levels of trading should account for good quarterly profits for the banks.
On the retail front, Best Buy and Costco Wholesale will put out their quarterly reports this week as well. Their earnings should help the market gauge consumer spending in these final weeks of the year.