On Wednesday, TripAdvisor (TRIP, +13.55%) and Marriott International, Inc. (MAR, +0.24%) announced that they are expanding their partnership. The global hotel portfolio of the Marriott has now been added to the Instant Booking Platform of TripAdvisor which means that from this summer, clients will be able to search for and to book one of the Marriott’s 4,200 hotels worldwide from the comfort of the TripAdvisor site. This strategic partnership will also enable TripAdvisor clients to familiarize themselves with the 19 leading brands that make up the Marriott's portfolio. CEO and President of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson, stated that the partnership is a clear indication of the similarities in the growth strategy of both the companies within the travel industry. Added to this, Shafiq Khan, senior vice president, channel strategy and distribution of Marriott International, Inc. commented that the partnership enables clients to book Marriott hotels with ease and convenience while those clients who book via TripAdvisor, will also be eligible for Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards points. To make a booking, one simply needs to access the TripAdvisor Instant Booking platform and click on the ‘"Book on TripAdvisor" button. Throughout the booking process, clients are reminded that the service is powered by Marriott while contact details of each hotel are also provided. Added to this, all queries will be handled directly by Marriott representatives. In 2014, Marriott International reported revenues of nearly $14 billion while the shares of TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, are currently trading at $87.65 a share.
In U.S. trading on Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended with modest gains after a volatile trading session. This came after the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, announced that key interest rates will remain unchanged while she also emphasized the fact that the Fed would watch economic data for cues regarding the timing of interest rate hikes. Yellen also made it clear that the timing of the rates hike is far less important than the pace as well as the trajectory. At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 0.2%, or 31.26 points, to 17,935.74 while the S&P 500 index (SPX) advanced 0.2%, or 4.15 points, to 2,100.44. Following the upward trend was the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) which rose 0.2%, or 9.33 points, to 5,064.88.
In forex trading on Wednesday, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded higher. This came as investors shifted their attention to the monthly policy statement by the Federal Reserve to assess the timing regarding interest rate hikes. The EUR/USD traded at 1.1228, down 0.15%. This came after the single currency hit a high of 1.1292 during the trading day. Also, the GBP/USD traded at a 1-month high of 1.5701, up 0.34%. This came after data showed that the average weekly earnings in the U.K., which excludes bonuses, rose on a year over year basis by 2.7 percent in the 3 months to April. Meanwhile, against the Swiss franc and the Canadian dollar, the USD traded mixed with USD/CHF trading at 0.9305, down 0.17% while the USD/CAD traded at 1.2313, up 0.16%. Also, the U.S. dollar index was at 95.34, up 0.13 percent.
On Thursday, crude oil prices declined in early Asian trade. Investors have now shifted their attention to the data on the rig count in the U.S. in order to get a clearer indication regarding production in the U.S. compared to the global demand. WTI crude oil for August delivery traded at $60.12 a barrel, down 0.35%, on the NYMEX. On Wednesday, crude futures traded mixed as a result of the decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain the current short term interest rates. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Brent crude oil for delivery in August traded at $63.84 a barrel, up 0.24%, or $0.15, on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) in London.