Stocks close higher as investors digest plethora of earnings, economic data

U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, with the Dow up more than 100 points, as investors continued to analyze the flow of corporate earnings and a series of conflicting economic reports, but sentiment was buoyed by strong market debuts from Pinterest Inc. and Zoom Video Communications Inc.

How did the indexes fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.42% rose 110 points, or 0.4%, to 26,559.54 and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.16% added 4.58 points, or 0.2%, to 2,905.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.02% meanwhile, reversed its earlier drop to edge up 1.98 points to 7,998.06.

Stocks finished out the week on a generally positive note. The S&P 500 shed about 0.1% but the Dow climbed 0.6% and the Nasdaq gained 0.2%. Markets will be closed for the Good Friday.

What drove the market?

Investors were deluged with a series of earnings reports and data that sent inconsistent messages about the health of the U.S. and global economies.

The first-quarter earnings outlook has improved somewhat, according to CFRA, which said consensus estimates now call for a 2.3% fall in first-quarter operating earnings a share. That is up from the call for a 3% drop ahead of the kickoff of earnings season, but down from the 4.5% increase projected at the end of last year. Meanwhile, second-quarter earnings are now forecast to eke out a 0.3% advance, CFRA said, which would avert an earnings recession—commonly defined as consecutive quarters of falling profit.

Retail sales data showed a rise of 1.6% in March, beating consensus estimates. The increase was driven by a 3.5% rise in auto sales, but even with autos and gas stripped out, sales rose by 0.9%, after February’s 0.4% decline.

IHS Markit said its U.S. composite PMI—a survey-based measure of activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—fell to

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Markets Right Now: Stocks end holiday-shortened week higher

NEW YORK — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):

4 p.m.

Major U.S. indexes managed small gains on Wall Street but not enough to prevent a losing week for the S&P 500 following three weeks of gains.

Industrial companies rose Thursday as traders welcomed solid earnings from Snap-on, Honeywell and Union Pacific. Financial and energy stocks fell.

Pinterest and Zoom Video Communications soared on their first day of trading.

Cigarette makers fell after the Senate majority leader said he plans to introduce legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.

The S&P 500 edged up 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,905.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 110 points, or 0.4%, to 26,559. The Nasdaq inched up 1 point to 7,998.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10 year Treasury fell to 2.56%.

11:45 a.m.

Stocks wavered between modest gains and losses in midday trading as another slide in health care sector companies offset gains elsewhere in the market.

Energy stocks also took losses Thursday. Pfizer fell 2.4% and Valero Energy gave up 1.3%.

Smaller company stocks fell more than the rest of the market for the second straight day.

The S&P 500 index edged up 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,902.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 96 points, or 0.4%, to 26,550. The Nasdaq fell 11 points, or 0.1%, to 7,984.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10 year Treasury note fell to 2.56%.

U.S. markets will be closed for Good Friday.

9:35 a.m.

Stock indexes are opening mostly higher on Wall Street, recouping some of their modest losses from a day earlier.

Gains in industrial, health care, and technology companies are outweighing losses in banks and elsewhere in the market early Thursday.

United Rentals surged 7.2%

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Wall Street closes slightly higher, industrials lead

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Industrials led the S&P 500 and the Dow moderately higher on Thursday after robust U.S. economic data and some healthy corporate earnings reports.

All three major U.S. stock indexes closed in positive territory heading into the three-day weekend.

For the holiday-shortened week, the S&P snapped its three-week winning streak, while the Dow and the Nasdaq posted weekly gains.

The bellwether S&P 500 has hovered within a percent of its all-time high for the last five sessions.

“It’s been kind of an anemic market over the last few weeks,” said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. “There’s concern that the majority of the returns in 2019 were front-end loaded.”

U.S. retail sales in March blew past analyst expectations, rising at their fastest monthly pace in 1-1/2 years, according to the Commerce Department.

In a separate report, data from the Labor Department showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped last week to a 50-year low.

Industrial stocks boosted the markets following upbeat quarterly results and remarks from China’s commerce ministry spokesman that progress has been made in U.S.-China trade talks.

With reporting season in full swing, January-March S&P 500 profits are expected to have dropped 1.7% year-on-year, which would mark the first decline in quarterly earnings since 2016.

Of the 77 S&P 500 companies that have released results thus far, 77.9% have beaten consensus, compared with the 65% average beat rate going back to 1994.

“Expectations were so low going into the quarter, there’s been some nice surprises,” Keator added.

A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Growing demand for aircraft parts drove Honeywell International Inc’s earnings beat. The company raised its

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‘Tired’-looking stock market is a reason for caution, says chart watcher

Do stock-market bulls need a timeout? Or even a nap?

In a Thursday note, George Davis, chief technical strategist at RBC Capital Markets, argued that the rally that’s seen the S&P 500 SPX, +0.16%  roar back from the verge of a bear market to the cusp of record territory in less than four months has left the stock market looking “tired.” The setup at least argues for some caution in the near term, he said. Here’s his candlestick chart, below:

RBC Capital Markets

“We are turning more cautious on equity markets as the SPX nears its secular highs as valuations are becoming a more pressing concern,” Davis wrote, referring to the ticker for the S&P 500 index.

Thursday’s gains, however, might buy some time. The S&P 500 ended with a gain of around 5 points, or 0.2%, near 2,905.

Davis said a daily close above 2,900 could “delay the corrective potential and argue for a retest of the secular [intraday] high at 2,941” set on Sept. 21. Meanwhile, a daily close below uptrend support at 2,901 would leave 2,860 as an initial target “as part of a corrective phase,” with the next layer of support seen at 2,785. A similar setup in early March saw a 3.3% pullback before the uptrend resumed, he said.

After notching an all-time closing high at 2,930.75 on Sept. 20, a fourth-quarter selloff pushed the benchmark large-cap index deep into correction territory but stopped just short of a bear market — popularly defined as a fall of 20% from a peak. In a V-shaped rebound, the index through Wednesday was up 24% from its Christmas Eve low, and sat just 1% away from its Sept. 20 high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.42%  saw similar action and was up more than 21% from

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Stock market ends holiday-shortened week higher, with Dow within shouting distance of a record

U.S. stocks ended higher Thursday as investors appeared to find optimism in a round of corporate earnings and economic reports, and as a highly anticipated release of a redacted version of an investigation of Russian interference in Trump’s 2016 campaign, known as the Mueller report, hasn’t yet revealed major surprises.(Markets will be closed in observance of Good Friday). The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.42% finished up 110 points, or 0.4%, at 26,559 (on a preliminary basis), the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.16% ended the session 0.2% higher at 2,905, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.02% finished in positive territory but mostly flat at 7,998. For the week, the Dow rose 0.6%, the S&P 500 booked a 0.1% decline, while the Nasdaq rose a slight 0.2%. All three benchmarks are within striking distance of records, with the Dow about 1% shy of its Oct. 3 closing high. Thursday also featured a parade of prominent initial public offerings, including those for Zoom Video Communications Inc. ZM, +72.22% and Pinterest Inc. PINS, +28.42% On the data front, a report on retail sales showed a rise of 1.6% in March, beating consensus estimates, and the Conference Board’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose 0.4% in March, indicating a slight uptick in U.S. economic activity from a weak start to 2019. However, the Philadelphia Fed’s regional manufacturing index fell to a three-year low of 8.5, below economists expectations of 11. The market took the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report in stride.

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US stocks down – 17-04-19

NEW YORK, APRIL 18, ARMENPRESS. USA main indexes values for 17 April:“Armenpress” reports the value of Dow Jones down by 0.01% to 26449.54 points, S&P 500 down by 0.23% to 2900.45 points, Nasdaq down by 0.05% to 7996.08 points.The Dow Jones Industrial Average is one of several indices created by Wall Street Journal editor and Dow Jones & Company co-founder Charles Dow. It measures the daily stock price movements of 30 large, publicly-owned U.S. companies.S&P 500 measures the performance of 500 widely held common stocks of large-cap U.S. companies.NASDAQ measures a number of indices reflecting the reaction of USA’s high tech markets and business environments on the country’s political and economic developments which have an impact on high tech markets.

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European Stocks – 17-04-19

MOSCOW, APRIL 18, ARMENPRESS. European main indexes values for 17 April:“Armenpress” reports the value of German DAX up by 0.43% to 12153.07 points, French CAC 40 up by 0.62% to 5563.09 points, British FTSE up by 0.02% to 7471.32 points, and Russian RTSI up by 0.80% to 1265.51 points.The German Stock Index is a total return index of 30 selected German blue chip stocks traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The equities use free float shares in the index calculation. The DAX has a base value of 1,000 as of December 31, 1987. As of June 18, 1999 only XETRA equity prices are used to calculate all DAX indices.The CAC 40 (Cotation Assistée en Continu) is a benchmark French stock market index. The index represents a capitalization-weighted measure of the 40 most significant values among the 100 highest market caps on the Euronext Paris (formerly the Paris Bourse).The FTSE UK Index Series is designed to represent the performance of UK companies, providing market participants with a comprehensive and complementary set of indices that measure the performance of all capital and industry segments of the UK equity market.RTS Index is cap-weighted composite index calculated based on prices of the 50 most liquid Russian stocks of the largest and dynamically developing Russian issuers presented on the Moscow Exchange. RTS Index was launched on September 1, 1995 at base value 100. The Index is calculated in real time by Moscow Exchange in US dollars and disseminated by the S&P Dow Jones Indices. 

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QQQ, SPY ETFs Find Support from Upbeat Economic Data, Q1 Earnings

Positive economic data and upbeat first quarter earnings helped lift U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 0.1%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) rose 0.2% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) was 0.5% higher.

New data revealed a rebound in retail spending an ongoing strength in the U.S. labor market, the Wall Street Journal reports.

U.S retail sales in March topped analysts’ expectations, rising at their fastest monthly pace in one-and-a-half years, Reuters reports.

In a separate report, the Labor Department revealed jobless claims data that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dipped to a half-century low.

Upbeat profits helped industrial sector stocks

Meanwhile, upbeat profits helped industrial sector stocks lead in the S&P 500 while healthcare companies pared losses from earlier in the session.

“Companies in the first week and a half have been reporting decent numbers, but they’re not blowing the doors off,” Nick Giacoumakis, president of New England Investment and Retirement Group, told the WSJ. “It’s all about guidance.”

Investors are closely watching this earnings season as many feared companies can maintain the high pace earnings growth rates of years past. Nevertheless, the economic picture remains strong in the U.S. and most companies have topped analysts’ profit expectations for the first quarter so far.

Of the 23 companies in the S&P 500 to report first quarter earnings so far, almost 83% have beaten analysts’ expectations, compared to about 69% in the fourth quarter, according to FactSet data. This should be taken with a grain of salt since the bar is significantly lower after steep downgrades to 2019 earnings forecasts in recent months.

“There have been a lot of green numbers and not a lot of red,” James Athey, senior

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U.S. oil futures notch a 7th straight weekly climb, the longest streak in 5 years

Oil futures climbed Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark posting its seventh weekly rise in a row—the longest streak of weekly gains in about five years.

Traders weighed the outlook for global supplies ahead of the June expiration of the production-cut agreement among members and some nonmembers of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Oil trading in the U.S. and U.K. will be closed for Good Friday.

On Thursday, the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery CLK9, +0.39% tacked on 24 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices saw back-and-forth action during the session, leaving futures up 0.2% for the holiday-shortened week. It has now climbed for seven straight weeks, the longest streak of gains since the seven-week rise ended Feb. 28, 2014, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

June Brent crude LCOM9, +0.46% the global benchmark, added 35 cents, or 0.5%, to $71.97 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Brent gained 0.6% for the week, its fourth consecutive weekly rise.

Read: Here are the biggest hurdles oil-market bulls will face in the next few months

Futures ended lower on Wednesday, pressured by uncertainty surrounding global crude production, despite data from a U.S. government report that revealed the first weekly decline in U.S. crude stocks in a month.

Sanctions on Venezuela and the approaching expiration of U.S. waivers for importers of Iranian oil have also contributed to supply jitters, analysts said. Chatter includes speculation that U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela could get tighter, and that, in turn, could trigger an end to the OPEC+ deal.

“Supply concerns persist, with U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela and the civil war in Libya, but the OPEC+ agreement has been the bigger factor,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst with Oanda.

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Why the health-care stock selloff may actually be a good thing

If there are any investors still wondering how vicious the selloff in health care stocks has been over the past couple of weeks, the charts below are worth 1,000 words.

But there is a silver lining: Sometimes a sector or stock can perform so badly, that it can be a good thing.

The SPDR Health Care Select Sector exchange-traded fund XLV, +0.14% fell 0.1% in afternoon trade Thursday, reversing earlier gains of as much as 0.8%, to put it on track to close at a 3 1/2-month low. The ETF (XLV) has lost 0.9% year to date, making it the only SPDR ETF tracking the S&P 500’s 11 sectors to be down this year, amid increased political rhetoric regarding “Medicare for All” plans and lower drug prices. In contrast, the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.16%  has surged 15.9% this year.

Don’t miss: Health-care stocks keep getting hammered—Wall Street says this is why.

On a relative-strength chart, which compares the XLV’s performance relative to the S&P 500, the XLV has hit a six-year low.

FactSet, MarketWatch

In terms of historical volatility, the selloff has been the most abrupt since the “flash crash” of late-August 2015, when the XLV plummeted as much as 21% intraday, with most of that selloff occurring in a matter of seconds, before bouncing to close down 4.3%.

To illustrate this, Bollinger Bands were used. That technical tool, developed by John Bollinger in the early 1980s, consists of a 20-day moving average line and boundary lines that are two standard deviations above and below the moving average line. Read more about Bollinger Bands.

FactSet, MarketWatch

The XLV is now 1.32% below the lower boundary line, after being 2.36% below it on Wednesday, which are levels not seen since Aug. 24 and Aug. 25 of 2015, when

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