April 18, 2024

Stocks & Bonds: Wall Street Indexes End the Week on the Upside

The market’s three main indexes have been climbing steadily in recent weeks as quarterly results trickled out and proved better than expected in many cases.

While the one-day gains on Friday were minimal, they were enough to build on past advances and to push the broader market and the Dow to their best monthly performances this year.

The dollar, on the other hand, declined against its index of six currencies to a three-year low, said Brian Dolan, the chief currency strategist at Forex.com.

The euro was at $1.4839 on Friday, up from  $1.4821 on Thursday.

“It is weak across the board,” said Mr. Dolan of the dollar. “U.S. interest rates are low and going to stay low, and other central banks are tightening. There is very little on the fundamental horizon to alter that downtrend.”

But corporate results have surpassed many forecasts.

About 300 of the companies in the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index have reported quarterly results so far, and nearly 80 percent have said sales and operating earnings were higher in the first quarter than they were in the quarter a year ago, according to a survey compiled by Howard Silverblatt, the senior index analyst at Standard Poor’s.

Russell T. Price, the senior economist for Ameriprise Financial, said the first quarter had suffered some economic and financial shocks from the disaster in Japan and the higher oil prices fueled by turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

But he said quarterly results were “coming out so much better than expected.” He added, “It is a pretty good indication that corporate America is able to deal with the headwinds.”

Some companies benefited from the higher oil prices. Energy shares in S. P. were up more than 1 percent on Friday.

Exxon Mobil released results on Thursday that reflected an increase in higher oil prices in the first quarter, reporting a 69 percent rise in net income to $10.7 billion, or $2.14 a share. Its shares rose less than 1 percent to $87.98.

Occidental Petroleum rose 8.71 percent to $114.29 after it reported on Thursday that profit rose to $1.55 billion, beating forecasts.

Industrial shares were also up.

Caterpillar, the heavy equipment maker, climbed more than 2.4 percent to $115.41 after its first-quarter income of $1.23 billion a share topped Wall Street’s expectations.

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company was 12.04 percent higher at $18.15 after reporting a profit that was four times greater than forecast.

The markets were also partly lifted this week by the Federal Reserve statement on Wednesday that it would continue to stimulate growth with low interest rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 47.23 points, or 0.37 percent, at 12,810.54, a nearly 4 percent rise in the month and its best close since May 2008. Eighteen of the 30 components rose.

The S. P. was 0.23 percent, or 3.13 points higher, at 1,363.61, in its highest close since June 5, 2008. It rose 2.85 percent in April, its best monthly advance this year.

The Nasdaq was 1.01 points higher at 2,873.54, weighed down by Microsoft, which reported that its third-quarter profit was up 31 percent, but that revenue from the division that includes the Windows operating system fell 4 percent.

Microsoft was down by 2.96 percent at $25.92. Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry, was down by about 14 percent at $48.65 after it lowered its forecast for the current quarter.

The market has also been assessing the latest indicators of growth and spending this week. The government reported on Thursday that the economy grew at a rate of 1.8 percent in the first quarter. Consumer spending increased 0.6 percent in March.

Interest rates were lower. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 7/32, to 102 26/32, and the yield fell to 3.29 percent from 3.31 percent late Thursday.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f490b4187ea14c7055565eb34eae9274

Speak Your Mind