October 20, 2017

Awaiting the Fed, Wall Street Rises

In afternoon trading, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 0.8 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.9 percent.

With the Fed expected to maintain the current level of bond purchases, shares of industrial, technology and consumer discretionary companies rallied. General Electric gained 1.8 percent and was among the most actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.

Traders are trying to anticipate the Fed’s timeline for winding down purchases of $85 billion per month of bonds, known as quantitative easing, that have underpinned the S.P. 500’s rally to all-time highs in May.

The expectation is that the Fed will change its rhetoric on tapering to ease the “hysteria” in the markets since talk that a change may be coming sooner than expected caught fire in May, said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Knight Capital in Jersey City.

“The volatility is absolutely 100 percent tied to the confluence of themes, the two themes being quantitative easing on the one hand and improving economic data on the other hand, which supports the removing of quantitative easing,” said Mr. Kenny.

The rally halted after the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said on May 22 the Fed could begin to reduce its stimulus in the “next few meetings” if the economy gains momentum and inflation remains moderate. Intraday swings by stock indexes have widened, although the S.P. 500 closed on Monday less than 1 percent below the May 22 close.

Data showed United States housing starts rose less than expected in May but the overall trend remained consistent with strength in the housing market, while consumer prices rose giving the deflation-wary Fed some respite.

The Fed’s policy won’t show major changes after the meeting, according to Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.

“They won’t do anything in this meeting and I think the data supports that,” Mr. Salamone said. “We remain in a holding pattern until the policy statement is released” on Wednesday afternoon.

Boeing introduced a larger version of its flagship Dreamliner aircraft at the Paris Airshow on Tuesday, sharpening the battle with rival Airbus in the market for fuel-efficient, long-distance jets. Boeing shares were up 0.7 percent.

United States-traded shares of Sony rose 3.2 percent as a hedge fund, Third Point, said it has raised its stake in the company and urged its leadership to create an independent board to run a partially spun-off entertainment arm.

Shares of Hormel Foods, the meat processor, fell 4.6 percent after the company cut its full-year outlook.

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After a calmer session for Asian markets, European shares recovered from an early dip. The FTSEurofirst 300 index ended the session down 0.1 percent.

The pickup in European shares was aided by a rise in investor sentiment in Germany, suggesting Europe’s largest economy is on the slow road to recovery, but it was only a brief distraction ahead of the Fed.

Benchmark crude was slightly higher, up 25 cents to $98.02 a barrel.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Dow Falls Below 15,000; Retailers Add to Slump

Video game shops, restaurants and retailers led the stock market lower Wednesday.

Without any good news to drive the market up, investors grappled with the question hanging over financial markets: When will the Federal Reserve and other central banks pull back their economic stimulus programs?

Markets have turned turbulent as traders start preparing for a time when the Fed and central banks in Europe and Japan are not pumping as much money into the financial system.

“There’s nothing concrete out there to turn us around today,” said Russell Croft, portfolio manager at the Croft-Leominster Value Fund in Baltimore. “So naturally enough, people are back to thinking about the Fed.”

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 126.79 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 14,995.23. The Dow had its first three-day stretch of losses this year and is down 1.7 percent for the week.

A rout in global markets helped pull the Dow down 116 points on Tuesday. The selling started after the Bank of Japan decided not to make any new attempt to spur growth in its nation’s economy, which is the world’s third largest.

In other trading on Wednesday, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index fell 13.61 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,612.52. All 10 industry groups in the index dropped, led by consumer discretionary and utility companies. The Nasdaq composite fell 36.52 points, or 1 percent, to 3,400.43. Two of the top-performing stocks in the S. P. 500 this year, Netflix and Best Buy, led consumer discretionary companies down. Netflix lost $6.82, or 3 percent, to $207.64. Best Buy dropped $1.01, or 4 percent, to $26.88. GameStop fell $1.13, or 3 percent, to $36.59.

The S. P. 500, the stock-market benchmark for most investment funds, has lost 3.4 percent since reaching a record high on May 21. The next day, the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said the central bank could decide to scale down its bond-buying program in the coming months if the economy looked strong enough.

Many on Wall Street think the Fed could signal that it is ready to start cutting back on its $85 billion in bond purchases at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday. That’s a reason bond traders have been selling Treasury notes, sending the 10-year yield from a low of 1.63 percent last month to as high as 2.29 percent this week. On Wednesday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.23 percent from 2.19 percent Tuesday, as the note fell 10/32, to 95 25/32.

Despite the losses, there were a few bright spots. Cooper Tire and Rubber jumped 41 percent after Apollo Tyres of India announced plans to buy the tire maker for $2.5 billion.

In commodities trading, crude oil rose 50 cents, to $96.10 a barrel, in New York. Gold rose $15, to $1,392 an ounce.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Lackluster Open on Wall Street

Stocks on Wall Street were flat on Monday after the rating agency Standard Poor’s upgraded its outlook for United States credit, and as last week’s employment report eased investor jitters that the Federal Reserve could slow the pace of its stimulus efforts in the very near term.

The Standard Poor’s 500-share index was unchanged in early trading, and the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite was flat.

Stock futures had risen after S.P. raised its outlook on United States sovereign credit to stable from negative.

With an absence of domestic economic news on Monday, investors could use the news as a reason to push the market rally higher.

“This is great news, and good to hear, but Wall Street traders don’t put a lot of emphasis on rating agencies,” said Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York.

Other news came from Japan, where data showed the country’s economy grew at a much quicker pace in the first quarter than had been previously estimated, an encouraging sign for the Japanese government’s aggressive plan to bolster growth. The Nikkei index jumped 4.9 percent after the data was released.

A report released on Monday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that major economies were gradually gaining momentum, led by faster growth in Japan and the United States.

But other data over the weekend pointed to risks that China’s economic growth would fall further in the second quarter. Export growth in May was weak in China, the world’s second-largest economy after that of the United States, while imports fell.

European shares were mixed by early afternoon, having first fallen when mining stocks were hurt by the weak Chinese data.

“China is the elephant in the room,” said a Saxo Bank strategist, Steen Jakobsen, adding that the latest data “shows that real growth in the country is at best 5 percent right now, which means the growth component of the earnings of companies needs to be adjusted.”

Among American companies, McDonald’s said sales at its established restaurants around the world rose in May, sending its shares up 1.6 percent in early trading.

With an absence of domestic economic news on Monday, investors are likely to continue to digest last Friday’s United States job market report, which showed that the economy added 175,000 jobs in May. Markets have been bumpy in recent weeks as investors have tried to determine when the Fed may slow its $85 billion a month bond-buying program.

“It wasn’t too hot, it wasn’t too cold,” Rockwell Global Capital’s chief market economist, Peter Cardillo, said of the employment report.

“Due to global economic weakness, and modest growth here in the States,” he said, “the Fed rhetoric will likely tone down, and I think the markets will be convinced there will be no trimming of Q.E., at least not until toward the end of the year.”

“That should re-energize the bulls,” he said.

Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, takes the stage at the company’s annual developers’ conference on Monday, this time to reveal what is expected to be a more modern-looking mobile operating system.

AstraZeneca, the British drugmaker, is to buy a respiratory drug specialist, Pearl Therapeutics, for up to $1.15 billion as part of its drive to rebuild its product pipeline via deal-making.

Decades-old laws barring foreign ownership of farmland in Iowa, Missouri and at least three other Midwest states may complicate the planned purchase by China’s Shuanghui International of the American pork company Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion.

In currency markets, the dollar gained 1.4 percent, to 98.90 yen, extending a recovery from two-month lows hit on Friday. Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar rose 0.25 percent after experiencing its biggest weekly fall since January 2012 last week.

The yen’s fall, which improves the outlook for the country’s exporters, was a factor in the Nikkei’s 4.9 percent rise on Monday, its biggest one-day gain since March 2011. The Nikkei has now swung by more than 3 percent in all but two of the last 11 sessions, five of those by more than 4 percent, making it one of the most volatile periods in Japanese stocks since the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Little Change in Wall Street Indexes

For the first time since November, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index posted a loss in consecutive weeks. Investors seemed willing to take money off the table after several months of gains.

The S. P. 500 ended May up 2.1 percent, its seventh straight month of gains — the longest streak since 2009. The index is up 14.3 percent in 2013, scoring its best five-month start to a year since 1997. Over the last seven months, it has climbed 15.5 percent.

Trading has been volatile for most of the week on concerns that the Federal Reserve will retreat from its monetary policy, the main engine behind the strong rally in equities this year.

Data on Friday pointed to a soft American economy but failed to quell speculation about possible action by the Fed. Consumer spending fell in April for the first time in almost a year, and inflation pressures were subdued.

But a separate report showed manufacturing rose more than expected in May, reflecting an expansion of business activity after a contraction in April.

“The economic data we have seen over the last week or so has been quite positive,” said Peter Kenny, chief market strategist at Knight Capital in Jersey City. He added: “It also speaks to the fact that tapering or a shift in monetary policy is more likely — the more positive it is. As a result, people are more than happy to ring the register — you never go broke ringing the register on a winning trade.”

Selling accelerated near the market’s close with the rebalancing of the MSCI indexes at the end of the day. Credit Suisse forecast $19 billion in total trading as a result of the rebalancing, with $15 billion related to developed markets.

“What’s happened in the last hour here, there’s some index and month-end rebalancing that accelerated the downturn,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president of BBT Wealth Management in Birmingham, Ala.

The Dow Jones industrial average slid 208.96 points, or 1.36 percent, to close at 15,115.57. The S. P. 500 lost 23.67 points, or 1.43 percent, to finish at 1,630.74. The Nasdaq composite fell 35.39 points, or 1.01 percent, to end at 3,455.91.

For the week, the Dow fell 1.2 percent, the S. P. 500 lost 1.1 percent, and the Nasdaq dipped 0.1 percent. For May, the Dow rose 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq gained 3.8 percent.

The stock market’s advance this year has come largely on supportive monetary policies from central banks around the world, which helped the markets ignore the Wall Street adage of “sell in May, go away” — a historical trend of seasonal weakness. In May 2012, the S. P. 500 fell 6.3 percent.

Energy and health care stocks were among the session’s worst performers, with Pfizer and Exxon Mobil the two biggest drags on the S. P. 500. Pfizer lost 3.6 percent to $27.23, while the S. P. health care sector index dropped 2.2 percent. Exxon Mobil slid 1.8 percent to $90.47. The S. P. energy sector index lost 2 percent.

Palo Alto Networks shares lost 10.8 percent to $48.52 after the company gave an outlook that was below expectations.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 4/32 on Friday, to 96 19/32, as its yield rose to 2.13 percent, from 2.12 percent late Thursday evening.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/01/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Global Stocks Slip on Signs of Economic Stress in China and Japan

HONG KONG — A 7 percent stock market sell-off in Tokyo led to moderate declines in equity markets across Europe and Asia on Thursday, and Wall Street opened weakly, amid concerns about global growth and uneasiness about central bank actions.

Shares came under pressure in Asian trading after news that the manufacturing sector in China, one of the main engines of global growth in recent years, was faltering. That, along with concerns about daring shock therapy Japan is employing to restart its economy after two decades of stagnation, further combined with leftover confusion in financial markets about the U.S. Federal Reserve’s intentions following testimony Wednesday by its chairman, helped to further rattle investors.

The result was a 7.3 percent rout in the Japanese market benchmark, the Nikkei 225-stock average, and other Asian markets followed. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong sagged 2.5 percent, and the Sydney benchmark index fell almost 2 percent.

In European afternoon trading, the Euro Stoxx 50 index of euro zone blue chips fell 2.5 percent, while the FTSE 100 in London was down 2 percent. On Wall Street, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was down more than 1 percent in morning trading, while the Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.6 percent. The Nasdaq was off 0.8 percent.

The euro ticked up 0.2 percent against the dollar, to $1.2887. The dollar fell 1.4 percent against the Japanese currency, to 101.74 yen.

China’s slowing momentum has been long in the making and is, to some extent, deliberately engineered by the authorities in Beijing, who are trying to bring about a more gradual but more balanced pace of growth. Still, disappointments over the performance of China’s economy – the second-largest in the world after that of the United States – remain liable to unsettle markets not just in Asia but around the globe.

High hopes that the bold economic policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will succeed have prompted a huge rally in stocks since November. The Japanese market is still up nearly 40 percent since the start of the year.

Akira Amari, Japan’s economy minister, sought to calm nerves after the market closed Thursday. “The Japanese economy is staging a sound recovery, and there is no need for panic,” he said, according to the Nikkei business daily. The plunge “is not exceedingly large, and stock prices in China, where the shock originated, have not fallen so much either,” he added.

“The stock market’s rise has so far been largely driven by expectations of an economic turnaround, but we’ve yet to see Mr. Abe’s policies really gain traction,” said Kiyoshi Yoshimoto, chief senior economist at the Japan Research Institute in Tokyo. “That means even small shocks, like lower-than-expected numbers out of China or some volatility in bond markets, can trigger a big but temporary response.”

The sell-off Thursday came in spite of economic news from Europe that was, if not good, at least better than many expected. The Markit Economics euro zone purchasing managers’ index for the manufacturing sector rose to 47.8 from 46.7, while the services index rose to 47.5 from 47.0. While a number below 50 indicates continued contraction, the improvement suggests the economy may be getting nearer to its nadir, setting up conditions for a rebound in the second half.

In Hong Kong, Stephen Corry, chief investment strategist at LGT, agreed that a combination of negative news helped spur the sell-off, including the disappointing data from China and signs that the Fed may begin to scale back its stimulus efforts. But the Japanese market had rallied more than 14 percent this month alone, he added, and “was probably due a breather.”

Analysts have broadly welcomed Mr. Abe’s efforts to breathe life into the Japanese economy through a three-pronged approach of major fiscal spending, a promise to pursue structural reforms and a monetary policy that has effectively flooded the economy with cheap money through purchases of government bonds, commercial debt and other assets.

One result has been a weakening of the yen, whose 17 percent drop against the dollar since the start of this year has helped lift the earnings prospects of many Japanese exporters. Data released in the past few weeks have shown that the economy has begun to pick up speed.

Taking many market observers by surprise, however, bond yields have risen in recent days, fanning worries about a rising interest rate burden for the government. The yield on the 10-year Japanese government bond briefly spiked above 1 percent Thursday before dropping back to 0.9 percent. The move spooked investors, helping produce the fall in the stock markets, said Stephen Davies, chief executive of Javelin Wealth Management in Singapore.

Japan is vulnerable to rising borrowing costs because of its high public debt, which is twice the size of its economy. Bonds are also the main financial assets held by banks, pension funds and insurance companies, making a surge in debt yields perilous. Given the indebtedness of the Japanese government, there are worries about the impact that this could have if sustained,” Mr. Davies said. “It is too early to say whether it will be sustained, so we should not read too much into one day’s extreme move in the markets.”

Mr. Yoshimoto of the Japan Research Institute also said the sharp market moves Thursday had not changed the overall longer-term picture for recovery in Japan. That could change if Mr. Abe fails to follow through on his promises of economic reforms, he said, “but for now, there’s no need to become overly pessimistic about Japanese shares.”

David Jolly reported from Paris.  Hiroko Tabuchi contributed reporting from Tokyo.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/24/business/global/china-economy.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Meanders

Stocks moved higher on Tuesday, with Home Depot at a record high and buoying the blue chips, while investors awaited Congressional testimony from the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, on Wednesday.

By afternoon the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index had gained 0.4 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite was 0.3 percent higher.

The housing market recovery helped Home Depot report higher quarterly sales and earnings, prompting the world’s largest home improvement chain to boost its sales outlook for the year. Its shares rose 3 percent to $79.05 after hitting a record of $79.40.

Housing will continue to be a tail wind for stocks and an engine for economic growth in the foreseeable future, according to Jack De Gan, chief investment officer at Harbor Advisory Corp. in Portsmouth, N.H.

The United States economic calendar is thin and the market will continue to be vulnerable with the S.P. and Dow industrials near record highs. However, the expectation of continuing accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve should continue to lend support to equities.

“There’s not strong enough evidence one way or another to change monetary policy,” Mr. De Gan said, adding that with all the support the Fed has given to equities there are also “fundamental reasons” driving the market.

The small- and mid-cap Russell 2000 continued to face technical resistance at the 1,000 point level but was within two pints of its all time closing high.

Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients dated May 20 that it expected the S.P. 500 to be at 1,750 points by the end of the year, a 5 percent advance from Monday’s close, and predicted a 12-month rally to 1,825. The bank’s economists forecast above-trend growth in 2014 in the gross domestic product.

The Carnival Corporation sharply reduced its full-year earnings outlook for the second time in less than three months. The company said it expected lower revenue because it has lowered ticket prices to attract passengers after a string of prominent mishaps. Its United States shares dropped 5.6 percent.

Best Buy, the consumer electronics chain, reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales and warned that investments to win back shoppers could squeeze earnings in the near term. Its shares fell 5.1 percent.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase rose 2 percent on reports that shareholders had defeated a proposal to strip the bank’s chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, of his chairman title.

Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, testify before Congress after a Senate report on the company’s offshore tax structure said it had kept billions of dollars in profits in Irish subsidiaries to pay little or no taxes to any government. Apple shares fell 0.1 percent.

The medical device maker Medtronic reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit driven by strong international sales and its shares rose 5 percent.

The Eurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended the trading day up 0.1 percent, as traders took the uncertainty over central banks’ stimulus policies as a cue to lock in some of the recent sharp gains.

Earlier in the day, Japan’s Nikkei share index crept to a five-and-a-half-year high. The yen shed some of Monday’s gains after Japan’s economy minister said his comments the previous day that the government was satisfied with the level of the currency had been misinterpreted.

A recent downward slide in precious metals also resumed. Gold was down 1.1 percent, at $1,368 an ounce, as the stronger dollar left it facing its eighth fall in nine sessions.

Silver dropped as much as 2.2 percent to trade near the two-and-a-half-year lows hit during a 6 percent slide on Monday, when an unidentified investor sold off a large holding.

While low inflation prospects have dulled demand for traditional hedge gold, silver has fallen out of favor with investors recently as demand from the solar energy sector has sagged and silver mining has increased.

“The market was caught horribly short yesterday,” said David Govett, head trader at Marex Spectron, “so there was some buying this morning. But the dollar started to get stronger and gold didn’t manage to break above $1,400, so sales started again.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/22/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks Fall on Fed Uncertainty

The three major stock indexes earlier traded in a tight range, supported by a gain of more than 12 percent in Cisco Systems shares and as investors took in a batch of economic data that pointed to slower growth.

But the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index finished near its session low after the comments from John C. Williams, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who also said the Fed could end its bond purchases this year, assuming the labor market continued to grow stronger. Mr. Williams is not a voter on the Fed’s policy-setting panel this year.

“When a Fed governor is out there and mentions this possibility, it does spook the market a little, because I don’t think anybody quite knows how the stock market is going to react” after the stimulus ends, said Timothy M. Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in New York.

The Fed’s purchases of $85 billion a month in bonds have been a significant driver of the rally in equities that has taken indexes to highs and pushed the S. P. 500 up nearly 16 percent this year.

Analysts also said the comments could have been viewed as a reason to take a pause after such a strong run-up in stocks.

“It turned a boring day into a bit of profit-taking,” Mr. Ghriskey said.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 42.47 points, or 0.28 percent, to 15,233.22 at the close. The S. P. 500 fell 8.31 points, or 0.50 percent, to end at 1,650.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 6.38 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 3,465.24.

Earlier, the Dow reached a new intraday high, at 15,302.49.

The Nasdaq fared better than the other two major indexes as Cisco shot up 12.6 percent, to $23.89, after it posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and said current-quarter revenue could increase.

Economic data set a lackluster tone in markets early in the day as factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region contracted, while housing starts plummeted 16.5 percent in April. New claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly jumped last week.

However, investors had speculated that soft underlying inflation also meant the Fed had room to continue its economic stimulus.

Wal-Mart Stores fell 1.7 percent, to $78.50, and dragged on the Dow after it posted a quarterly profit that missed expectations, with sales down 1.4 percent at United States stores open at least a year.

Tesla Motors shares gained 8.7 percent, to $92.25, after the carmaker said it aimed to raise $830 million through a stock-and-debt offering that would be used to repay its Energy Department loans with interest. The stock has surged more than 50 percent since the company reported earnings last week.

The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 18/32, to 98 27/32, dropping the yield to 1.88, from 1.94 on Wednesday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Week Ends on High Note for Dow and S.&P. 500

Shares on Wall Street rose modestly on Friday, giving the major indexes a third week of gains.

Friday’s modest advance followed Thursday’s losses, which resulted in the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index breaking a five-day streak of record closing highs.

“Today it’s trying to get some stability from yesterday,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz Associates, an investment advisory company in Toledo, Ohio.

The length of the recent rally has surprised many, and the upward momentum may be difficult to sustain without further trading catalysts like first-quarter earnings reports, which are nearing an end. Still, investors expect shares to generally trend higher, given the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary environment and encouraging data on the labor market, including jobless claims on Thursday and last week’s payroll report.

“Between the jobs report, quantitative easing and a zero percent interest rate policy,” said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Global Financial Private Capital in Sarasota, Fla., “there’s no question that there’s a floor under the market and that it wants to go up, even if some sectors are overdone.”

Shares fluctuated for much of the day on Friday, but closed slightly higher. The S.P. 500 finished up 0.4 percent, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq 0.8 percent.

“We’re seeing a real rotation out of defensive names and into groups like technology and industrials,” said Mr. Bertelsen, who helps oversee $2 billion in assets. “That’s keeping the market moving and preventing it from plateauing.”

Priceline.com reported first-quarter earnings late Thursday that beat expectations, though its second-quarter outlook disappointed. Shares moved 3.9 percent higher on Friday. The company’s earnings report was among several stronger-than-expected profit reports this week that helped stocks, despite coming near the end of the first-quarter earnings period.

Gap, the clothing retailer, rose 5.6 percent after reporting strong results.

Oil and gold prices tumbled as the dollar continued to get stronger against the yen and the dollar index was on track to post its strongest week in 10 months, making commodities more expensive for holders of different currencies and weighing on shares in the energy and basic materials sectors.

As of Friday morning, with 89 percent of the S.P. 500 companies having reported earnings, 66.7 percent have beat profit expectations, above the average since 1994 of 63 percent. However, only 46.4 percent of companies have beaten revenue expectations, well under the average since 2002 of 62 percent.

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, and Southeastern Asset Management proposed an alternative to a $24.4 billion buyout deal for Dell that involved giving shareholders an option to receive either $12 a share in cash or $12 in additional shares valued at $1.65 each. Shares of Dell rose almost 1 percent on Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Edges Higher

Shares on Wall Street were mostly flat in afternoon trading on Friday, putting indexes on track to post another strong week after repeatedly reaching new highs.

The length of the recent rally has surprised many, and the upward momentum may be difficult to sustain without further trading catalysts like first-quarter earnings reports, which are nearing an end. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index ended a five-day streak of record closing highs on Thursday, while the Dow Industrial average broke a two-day streak by dipping modestly.

Still, investors expect shares to generally trend higher, given the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary environment and encouraging data on the labor market, including jobless claims on Thursday and last week’s payroll report.

“Between the jobs report, quantitative easing and a zero percent interest rate policy,” said Chris Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Global Financial Private Capital in Sarasota, Fla., “there’s no question that there’s a floor under the market and that it wants to go up, even if some sectors are overdone.”

Shares fluctuated on Friday, and by early afternoon, the S.P. 500 was 0.2 percentflat, while the Dow Jones industrial average was down about 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq was up 0.3 percent. All three of the indexes have gained this week.

“We’re seeing a real rotation out of defensive names and into groups like technology and industrials,” said Mr. Bertelsen, who helps oversee $2 billion in assets. “That’s keeping the market moving and preventing it from plateauing.”

Priceline.com reported first-quarter earnings late Thursday that beat expectations, though its second-quarter outlook disappointed. Shares moved 3.5 percent higher on Friday.

Gap, the clothing retailer, rose 5 percent after reporting strong results.

With 89 percent of the S.P. 500 having reported, 66.7 percent have beat profit expectations, above the average since 1994 of 63 percent. However, only 46.4 percent of companies have beaten revenue expectations, well under the average since 2002 of 62 percent.

Carl Icahn, the activist investor, and Southeastern Asset Management proposed an alternative to a $24.4 billion buyout deal for Dell that involved giving shareholders an option to receive either $12 a share in cash or $12 in additional shares valued at $1.65 each. Shares of Dell rose 0.5 percent on Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

After Boost From Earnings Reports, Momentum Slows

The stock market retreated from its nominal highs on Thursday, with the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index slipping after five days of gains.

Despite the pullback, the Dow Jones industrial average remained above the 15,000 mark, while the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was still well above 1,600.

The length of the recent market rally has surprised some investors. Analysts said it was difficult for stocks to continue their upward momentum without further catalysts, such as first-quarter earnings reports, which are nearing an end.

“This market is so stretched to the upside that if we get some little wiggle somewhere, I can easily see us getting back down to 1,580” on the S. P. 500, said Stephen J. Massocca, managing director of Wedbush Equity Management.

The Dow industrials fell 22.50 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 15,082.62. The S. P. 500 declined 6.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,626.67. The Nasdaq composite index slipped 4.10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,409.17.

The day’s main economic data was basically positive, but failed to give much of a boost to stocks. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in more than five years.

New jobless claims fell by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average of jobless claims, a less-volatile figure, dropped 6,250, to 336,750.

Apple helped lead the declines of both the S. P. 500 and the Nasdaq, falling $4.02, or 0.9 percent, to $456.77. I.B.M. was the biggest drag on the Dow, dropping $1.58, or 0.8 percent, to $203.24.

Despite the day’s declines, the Dow is up 15.1 percent so far this year, while the S. P. 500 is up 14.1 percent.

Trading was fairly volatile. The market, which had been down slightly from the opening bell through midday, reversed course and began to edge higher in early afternoon. Stocks lost steam later in the session.

Limiting the losses in the S. P. 500, News Corporation shares rose $1.46, or 4.6 percent to $33.44 after it reported earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations.

Among the stocks making big gains, Tesla Motors surged $13.61, or 24.4 percent, to $69.40 a day after posting earnings that were three times what analysts had expected, as the company sold more cars than initially forecast.

Barnes Noble shot up $4.31, or 24.3 percent, to $22.08, after TechCrunch, an influential technology Web site, published an unconfirmed report that Microsoft was considering an offer to acquire all of the company’s Nook Media’s digital assets for $1 billion. Microsoft fell 33 cents, or 1 percent, to $32.66.

In the bond market, interest rates moved up. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note fell 21/32, to 99 14/32, while its yield rose to 1.81 percent, from 1.77 percent late Wednesday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss