June 17, 2024

Stocks and Bonds: Light Trading Ahead of Earnings Season

With oil prices reaching a 30-month high of $108 a barrel, some investors are waiting for Alcoa to report its first-quarter earnings next Monday, the unofficial start of the earnings season, before making any big moves. Traders are hoping to see how rising gasoline prices and other commodity costs are affecting corporate profits.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.31 points, or 0.19 percent, to 12,400.03. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 0.46 points, or 0.03 percent, to 1,332.87, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.41 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,789.19.

Materials companies gained 0.7 percent, the most of any of the 10 company groups that make up the S. P. 500, as commodity prices increased. Futures contracts for corn, wheat and sugar each rose more than 2 percent.

In company news, Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, said it would it sell its Capsugel unit to an affiliate of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for $2.4 billion in cash. Capsugel makes capsules for oral medicines and dietary supplements. Pfizer rose less than 1 percent.

Southwest Airlines fell nearly 2 percent as the company continued to inspect its planes after the fuselage of one jet ripped open Friday, forcing it to make an emergency landing. Southwest grounded 79 planes after the incident and canceled about 700 flights over the weekend. The company canceled 70 flights on Monday.

Ford Motor rose 2.6 percent. The company’s sales rose 16 percent in March, in part because of the success of its new Explorer crossover vehicle. A Credit Suisse analyst upgraded the automaker, citing an improved balance sheet.

Vivus rose nearly 7 percent after the drug developer said patients taking its diet pill Qnexa over two years saw reductions in blood pressure in addition to significant weight loss.

Interest rates were lower. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 7/32, to 101 23/32, and the yield slipped to 3.42 percent from 3.44 percent late Friday.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a398e4026eb4f3db3a8041d5515fd631

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