Finally, a rally!
Stocks ended higher Thursday on a major earnings beat by Dow member Cisco (CSCO) and decent jobless claims data. The blue-chip average ended up 85 points, or two-thirds of one percent, and the Nasdaq added a full percent, and the S&P 500 closed at a four-month high. Futures are flat Friday morning.
Oil prices closed at a three-month high of $95.60, but are coming down slightly this morning on a report that the White House is considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the U.S.'s emergency stockpile of oil with some 660 million barrels at its disposal. Officials reportedly plan to monitor the oil and gas price data until after Labor Day before making their decision.
AAA says gas prices are at $3.716 a gallon nationally today, a gain of 30 cents in just a month.
Critics say the SPR should only be used in emergency situations, and they accuse the Obama administration of using pain at the gas pump as a political maneuver with the election just three months away.
The last time the U.S. tapped the SPR was during the Libya conflict last June. Oil went from $95 a barrel to just under $80 two months later. After the President makes the decision to release the oil from the reserve it takes 13 days for it to hit the market.
The U.S. also used emergency supplies in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Oil went from $69 to $59 two months later, and back in 1991 during the Gulf War, oil went from $30 to $19.76.
Beginning next month, eBay (EBAY) is banning the sale of spells, curses, hexing, magic, prayers, potions, and healing sessions, including tarot cards readings and psychic readings. The online retailer wants to build trust in the marketplace.
And IKEA, the largest furniture retailer, plans to build a budget hotel chain across Europe, banking on the trend for cheap-but-cool accommodations. Don't worry: you won't have to assemble your own bed. In fact, there is no IKEA furniture in the rooms at all -- it is not an IKEA hotel, but an IKEA investment in real estate.
The first two hotels from IKEA open in Germany in 2014. None are slated yet for the U.S.