RealTime IT News

Holiday Results Give Markets a Cause for Cheer

Reports from several fronts indicated last-minute holiday sales were better than expected and many stocks spent the day enjoying a holiday spirit. Some of the optimism faded in the final hour however, the indices ended the day higher.

The DJIA ended the day at 10,088, up 53 points at the close though it spent much of the day well above 100 points higher and reached 10,169 during the session. The NASDAQ closed at 1960 up 16 points; at one point it hit 1983. The ISDEX ended the day up 1.7 percent, 3 points higher, to close at 178.35.

The good news came early in the day. Yahoo! announced that holiday sales from its Yahoo! Shopping platform jumped 85 percent over last year's season. The company said Yahoo! users spent $10.3 billion online in the fourth quarter of 2001 and that the company would beat analyst's estimates for e-commerce sales by ten times the forecasted amount of eight percent. Yahoo! ended the day at 17.51, up 84 cents (5.04%) though like other big gainers, profit-taking set in during the final hour; the stock hit 18.27 during the session.

The stocks of other e-commerce companies benefited from Yahoo's good news; Amazon, while not reporting any results today, jumped 13 percent, gaining 1.27 to close at 11.10. Volume in Amazon was more than 18 million shares, almost double the stock's average volume.

The good feeling was widely shared throughout the markets, partly as a result of a retailing report from UBS Warburg that said its index of chain store sales rose 2.9 percent during the week ended Dec. 22, following a 0.5 percent drop a week earlier. Analysts said this suggested December retail sales would end up at roughly the same levels in 2001 as 2000. The index tracks sales at major U.S. chains, such as Sears, Target and Wal-Mart.