Wal-Mart rises and pushes US stocks higher

<p>Shares in Wal-Mart rose by 0.5 per cent yesterday.</p>

US stocks rose yesterday (August 14th), with supermarket chain Wal-Mart contributing to the increase after posting a 0.5 per cent increase in its share price.

The company reported a set of financial results that were in line with expectations and this resulted in its share price increasing to $74.39 (£44.57) by the end of the day. However, it was not all good news for Wal-Mart shareholders, as the company cut its future earnings forecast.

Earnings season is now starting to draw to a close, with 92 per cent of the businesses on the S&P 500 having already released their latest financial results.

Among the fallers on the US stock markets yesterday was Cisco Systems Inc, which dropped by 2.6 percent to $24.54 after the firm announced a series of large job cuts, as well as a disappointing outlook for its current quarter.

Tensions overseas have had a marked effect on the S&P and other US stock markets in the last few weeks, but worries were eased yesterday following the latest comments made by Russian leader Vladimir Putin, reports Reuters. Mr Putin used a softer tone to explain Russia will stand up for itself, but is not seeking confrontation with the rest of the world.

US markets have also been affected by concerns over the future direction of the Federal Reserve under its new leader Janet Yellen, who took over from Ben Bernanke earlier this year.

Jeff Duncan, president of Duncan Financial Management in Sunset Hills, Missouri, said: "In October, the Fed is going to get away from money printing, and since we haven't had a correction in a long time, it could undermine things very quickly once people realize growth isn’t in line with their expectations."

The Dow Jones ended yesterday's trading session 0.37 per cent up for the day, pushed higher by gains by companies including Boeing, which saw its stocks rise by 2.13 per cent. Elsewhere, there was an increase of more than one per cent for Visa, while Merck was up 0.93 per cent.

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