Stocks Post Solid Gains as Deutsche Bank Spikes, Crude Settles Higher - TheStreet

Stocks held at highs on Friday afternoon as Deutsche Bank (DB) - Get Report rebounded on speculation over a settlement with U.S. authorities. 

The S&P 500 was up 1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1%, and the Nasdaq added 1%. The S&P 500 was on track to close September flat and the third quarter with gains of more than 3%. 

Deutsche Bank rocketed 14% higher after the AFP reported the bank had settled with the U.S. Department of Justice for a fraction of the original fine. A separate JPMorgan report indicated the penalty could be as low as $5.4 billion. The bank's liquidity has been in question since the U.S. Justice Department proposed a $14 billion fine earlier this month over residential mortgage-backed securities.

Deutsche Bank triggered a Wall Street selloff on Thursday on reports a number of hedge funds that do derivatives business with the bank had reduced their exposure. 

"The bank's systemic significance is undeniable," Stephen Guilfoyle, chief market economist at Stuart Frankel & Co., wrote in a note. "With an estimated 46 trillion euros ($51.5 trillion) worth of gross derivative exposure, any kind of doubt over counter-party risk must be taken seriously. That's why those hedge funds in the news yesterday did what they did. Purely a business decision that seems understandable."

Financials stocks also improved after Thursday's selloff. Major banks Citigroup (C) - Get Report , Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report and JPMorgan (JPM) - Get Report were higher, while the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) - Get Report rose 1.4%.

Citigroup is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells C? Learn more now.

Walmart (WMT) - Get Report led the Dow higher after being initiated with an overweight rating and $90 price target at Keybanc. The firm said investments by the giant retailer should eventually lead to sustainable market share gains. Shares added more than 2%.

Consumer sentiment improved at a faster-than-expected pace in September. The measure rose to 91.2 this month compared with an estimate of 90. A preliminary reading released earlier this month showed sentiment at 89.8.

U.S. personal income inched higher in August, in line with estimates, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Income rose 0.2% last month, half the increase seen in July. Consumer spending was flat, weaker than an anticipated 0.2% increase. Fewer sales of new vehicles countered an increase in spending on education and health care.

Business activity in the Chicago region improved in September. Chicago PMI rose to 54.2 in September, higher than an estimated increase of 52. August's reading sat at 51.5.

Crude oil added to gains on Friday afternoon even as a weekly reading on oil rig activity showed another increase. The number of active oil rigs climbed by 7 to 425, according to Baker Hughes data. Earlier in the week, Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to limit oil production to 32.5 million barrels a day following a three-day energy meeting in Algeria. Members had shown reluctance to agree to any deal and cede market share.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed higher, gaining 41 cents to $48.24 a barrel.

Costco (COST) - Get Report climbed as lower credit card fees helped to boost quarterly profit. Profit rose 1.6% to $779 million over the quarter. Per-share earnings of $1.77 beat estimates by 4 cents. Same-store sales were flat in its August-ended quarter, though rose 3% when excluding currency exchange and lower fuel prices.

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McCormick & Co. (MKC) - Get Report was higher after a better-than-expected quarter and higher full-year forecasts. The spices company earned an adjusted $1.03 a share over its third quarter, above estimates of 94 cents. Sales rose 3%, boosted by a string of acquisitions including herbs company Gourmet Garden in April.

Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) - Get Report tumbled more than 13% after disclosing an internal investigation into whether it had violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The investigation is tied to a number of payments related to facilities in India. The company has notified the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission.