May 28, 2017

Another Day of Slight Movement on Wall Street as Investors Weigh Data

Gains in energy and chemical companies helped nudge the stock market higher on Thursday.

The modest move extends a pattern this week: even with plenty of earnings news from big companies, the broader market has shuffled between minor gains and minor losses.

Cabot Oil and Gas and Range Resources reported revenue and earnings that trumped estimates, sending their stocks up 7 percent. Cabot rose $4.85 to $76.56. Range Resources rose $5.34 to $81.39.

Facebook soared 30 percent after reporting earnings late on Wednesday that easily beat analysts’ forecasts, thanks to higher revenue from advertisements on mobile devices. Facebook’s stock gained $7.85 to $34.36.

Nearly halfway through the second-quarter earnings season, the overall trend looks good, but not great, said Tyler Vernon, chief investment officer of Biltmore Capital in Princeton, N.J. “There have been some big disappointments, like Caterpillar yesterday, but we’re seeing better and better numbers coming out.”

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 4.31 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,690.25.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.37 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,555.61. The Dow was held back by Home Depot and Caterpillar, which warned on Wednesday that its sales could sag.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 25.59 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,605.19.

Analysts forecast that companies in the S. P. 500 index would report earnings growth of 4.3 percent over the same period last year, according to SP Capital IQ. At the beginning of July, the forecast was for growth of 2.8 percent. More than six out of every 10 companies have cleared analysts’ earnings targets so far.

Improving profits should help push the S. P. 500 index above 1,700 in the coming weeks, Mr. Vernon said.

D. R. Horton Inc., the country’s largest builder, and PulteGroup said orders for new houses jumped in the second quarter, but their results still fell short of what analysts had expected. PulteGroup also posted a 14 percent decline in profits.

D. R. Horton dropped $1.82, or 9 percent, to $19.38. PulteGroup lost $1.90, or 10 percent, to $16.55, the biggest drop of any stock in the S. P. 500.

“I think what you’re seeing a bit of today is people questioning what higher mortgage rates mean for housing,” said Joe Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

In the market for United States government bonds, benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 2/32, to 92 28/32. Its yield was unchanged from late Wednesday at 2.58 percent. Late last week, it was trading at 2.48 percent.

The 10-year yield acts as a benchmark rate for most mortgage loans. A sharp increase in the rate drives up mortgage costs and could slow down sales in the housing market.

It is still very low by historical standards, thanks in large part to the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a recent low of 1.63 percent on May 3. By contrast, it was trading around 4 percent in the summer of 2008, shortly before the worst days of the financial crisis.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks set another record high, gaining 10.35 points, or 1 percent, to 1,054.18. The Russell has done better than other major indexes this year, gaining 24 percent versus 19 percent for the S. P. 500 and the Dow.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Shares Flat Ahead of Fed Minutes

Shares were slightly lower on Wednesday, as investors appeared to be waiting for the minutes from the January meeting of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee, which will be released in the afternoon.

Data released on Wednesday indicated that the economy continued to show modest improvement. Groundbreaking to build new homes in the United States fell 8.5 percent in January, but new permits for construction rose to a four-and-a-half-year high. In addition producer prices rose in January for the first time in four months.

The data should enable the Fed to maintain its easy monetary policy in its efforts to stimulate the economy.

“It’s hard in any given data point to take a strong conclusion that we are moving dramatically forward,” said Robert Lutts, chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management in Salem, Mass. “But over time, clearly things are getting better.”

Mr. Lutts described an economy that was addicted to stimulus.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is the economy is on heroin today and we will at one-time move to a diluted form of heroin, but it’s very important for people to remember we are still on an unbelievably aggressive, never-seen-before accommodative policy and this economy is going to improve.”

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index is up 7.4 percent for the year, aided by legislators’ ability to sidestep automatic spending cuts, better-than-expected corporate earnings and modestly improving economic data that has been tepid enough for the Fed to maintain its stimulus policy.

In early trading on Wednesday, the S.P. 500 was down about 0.2 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average was flat. The Nasdaq composite was 0.2 percent lower.

Devon Energy, an American oil and gas producer, reported a fourth-quarter loss as it wrote down the value of its assets by $896 million because of weak gas prices. Its shares were down about 1.1 percent.

Toll Brothers, the luxury homebuilder, lost 4.4 percent after it reported first-quarter results well below analysts’ estimates.

SodaStream dropped 4.2 percent after the seller of home carbonated drink maker machines posted fourth-quarter earnings and provided a 2013 outlook.

According to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning, of the 391 companies in the S.P. 500 that have reported results, 70.1 percent have exceeded analysts’ expectations, compared with a 62 percent average since 1994 and 65 percent over the last four quarters.

Fourth-quarter earnings for S.P. 500 companies are estimated to have risen 5.6 percent, according to the data, above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss