In late trading on Tuesday, the shares of Yahoo Inc. (YHOO, -7.62%) declined by almost 8 percent. This came as a result of concerns regarding the company’s intentions for a tax free spinoff of their Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA, +1.26%) shares as well as the regulatory challenges which the company might now need to face. According to a report by Bloomberg News on Tuesday, an official of the Internal Revenue Service recently said that they are currently considering amendments to their rules regarding spinoffs. This information was revealed at a D.C. Bar Association event by Isaac Zimbalist who is a senior technician reviewer at the IRS’s Office of Associate Chief Counsel. Zimbalist said that while a rule change was under consideration, no further decisions have been made regarding the types of changes that will be made. Meanwhile, Yahoo has not commented regarding these recent comments by the IRS. For now, this matter seems unclear and should Yahoo spinoff their Alibaba shares, there is currently no clarity regarding what regulations will be applied. Yahoo is currently trading at $40.98 a share.
On Tuesday, U.S. stocks ended the trading session lower while the Dow industrials managed to close at a new record high. As a result of declining oil prices, pressure was put on energy stocks with the sector selling off sharply. Adding to this, economic data released yesterday showed a sharp increase in housing starts in April. As a result, investors were prompted to question what impact this will have on the Federal Reserve and the timing of interest rate hikes. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 0.1%, or 13.51 points, to 18,312.39. This marked the blue chip index’s second consecutive record close. The best performer of the session on the DJIA was McDonald`s Corporation (NYSE:MCD), which rose 2.71% or 2.66 points to trade at 100.68 at the close. Also, the poorest performer of the session was Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), which fell 4.37% or 3.49 points to trade at 76.43. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) declined 0.2%, or 8.41 points, to 5,070.03 while the S&P 500 index (SPX) also declined 0.1%, or 1.38 points, at 2,127.82. This decline marked a break in the index’s 3-day record-scoring streak.
In currency trading on Tuesday, the U.S. dollar (USD) gained. This came in response to data which showed that housing starts and building permits in the U.S. in April beat expectations. According to the Commerce Department in the U.S., there was a 10.1 percent increase in the number of building permits issued in April, from 1.038 million in March, to 1.143 million units in April. Their report also showed that in April, housing starts increased by 20.2 percent to reach 1.135 million units. This was up from March's total of 944,000 units while also beating expectations. In trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.1141, down 1.53% while the GBP/USD was also down 0.95% and trading at 1.5505. Against the New Zealand dollar and the Japanese yen, the USD traded higher with NZD/USD down 0.52% to 0.7353 and with USD/JPY up 0.52% and trading at 120.61. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 95.46, up 1.31% which also marked the highest level since the 5th of May.
In Asia, in early morning trading on Wednesday, crude oil prices gained. This came in response to a solid decline in U.S. stockpiles which was reported yesterday by the American Petroleum Institute. According to their data, crude oil supplies declined last week by 5.2 million barrels. Meanwhile, the stocks of gasoline also declined by 1.2 million barrels while data on distillates was not available. Today, investors will turn their attention to the more closely watched numbers reported by the EIA (Energy Information Administration). WTI crude oil for delivery in July traded at $58.37 a barrel, up 0.65 percent, on the NYMEX. Meanwhile on Tuesday, Brent crude oil for delivery in July traded at $64.13 a barrel, down 3.23% or $2.14, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).