June 25, 2024

Shares Rise on Earnings, but Some Leading Companies Falter

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at a high for the year. The 30-company index rose 52.45 points, or 0.42 percent, to 12,505.99.

“There are a lot of concerns out there, but investors are looking at the bottom line right now, and that’s earnings,” said Yu-Dee Chang, the chief trader at ACE Investment Strategists, a money management firm based in Virginia.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 7.02, or 0.53 percent, to 1,337.38. The S. P. 500, a benchmark for most mutual funds, is now less than six points from its highest close of 2011.

The gains were broad. All 10 company groups that make up the S. P. index rose, led by a nearly 1 percent gain in technology companies.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 17.65 points, or 0.63 percent, to 2,820.16.

Apple rose nearly 3 percent after reporting sales and income late Wednesday that came in ahead of analysts’ estimates. The company sold 18.65 million iPhones in the latest quarter, millions more than expected. Verizon Wireless started selling the phones in February, ending three and a half years of exclusivity by ATT.

The Travelers Companies rose nearly 4 percent, leading the 30 companies in the Dow average, after reporting stronger earnings and a 14 percent dividend increase. The company, a commercial insurer, benefited from a decline in losses from catastrophe claims and an increase in corporate insurance sales.

UnitedHealth, a health insurer, rose 8 percent after reporting a 13 percent increase in profit as more employees signed up for coverage.

The stronger earnings results were tempered by weaker-than-expected economic reports. The Labor Department said that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits fell last week to 403,000. Economists had expected a larger drop. A separate report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area fell in April.

Other companies in the Dow fell after investors found worrying signs in their earnings reports.

McDonald’s fell nearly 2 percent, despite beating analysts’ earnings estimates, after the company said it expected the cost of most of its ingredients to rise as much as 5 percent throughout the year.

General Electric fell 2 percent, also despite beating estimates. The company said revenue at its industrial businesses was not growing as quickly as the company’s rivals’.

Interest rates were steady. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 2/32, to 101 28/32, and the yield slipped to 3.40 percent from 3.41 percent late Wednesday.

In currency trading, the dollar fell to a 16-month low against the euro with investors expecting the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero, even as many companies were posting better-than-expected quarterly results.

The Fed next meets to talk about interest rates and other monetary policy on Tuesday and Wednesday. The central bank is not expected to cut short the $600 billion bond-purchasing program, set to expire in June, that was intended to drive down interest rates.

The euro was worth $1.4544 late Thursday, up from $1.4514 late Wednesday. The euro earlier rose as high as $1.4648, its strongest level since December 2009.

The British pound rose to $1.6517 from $1.6407, while the dollar fell to 81.90 Japanese yen from 82.37 yen.

The weak dollar drove most commodity prices higher. The Commodity Research Bureau’s index of commodity prices rose 1.90 points, or 0.52 percent, to 367.44.

Gold and silver continued to rise as concerns persisted about global economic issues. The two precious metals attract investors during uncertain economic times because of their reputation as relatively stable assets.

Wheat rose 1.9 percent on worries that dry weather has damaged the winter crop from Kansas to Texas, and rains may delay spring planting in some areas.

Oil prices also rose. Crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 84 cents, to $112.29 a barrel.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=fecff839a22c948f7572ca98def07b63