June 17, 2024

Worst Day for Markets in Two Months as Signals Are Mixed

The stock market was pummeled on Thursday after two big companies issued grim sales forecasts and economic data added to investors’ concerns that the Federal Reserve would soon start winding down its economic stimulus program.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 225 points, its worst day in nearly two months. Investors also sold off bonds, driving the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to its highest level in more than two years.

Before the start of trading, Wal-Mart Stores cut its estimates for annual revenue and profit, warning that cautious shoppers are spending less. The news followed a disappointing revenue forecast from Cisco Systems late on Wednesday.

In a twist, more signs of resilience in the nation’s economy weighed on the stock market. Reports on inflation and the job market appeared to raise the odds that the Fed would begin winding down its $85 billion monthly program of buying Treasury and mortgage-backed securities as early as next month. Many investors think that the Fed’s effort to keep interest rates extremely low has underpinned the stock market’s record run.

“People are worried that this move up in interest rates will kill the recovery, and we won’t see the anticipated second-half improvement in growth and corporate earnings,” said Alec Young, global equity strategist at S. P. Capital IQ.

The Dow industrials lost 225.47 points, or 1.5 percent, to close at 15,112.19. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index fell 24.07 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,661.32. The selling swept across all 10 industry groups in the S. P. 500.

The Nasdaq composite index dropped 63.16 points, or 1.7 percent, to 3,606.12.

“It seems like an overreaction today,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

Mr. Frederick said many investors were speculating that the improving economy meant that the Fed would start pumping less money into the financial system in the coming months. If that results in lower bond prices and even higher yields, it could lead more investors to dump dividend-paying stocks in favor of bonds.

“Some of the stocks getting hit hardest recently are big companies paying dividends,” Mr. Frederick said. Utilities stocks are down 3 percent this week, for example, the worst of the S. P. 500’s industry groups.

The government said on Thursday that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits dropped to 320,000 last week, the lowest level since October 2007, two months before the start of the recession.

A slowly improving economy should eventually lead to higher spending and more sales for big companies. But right now, investors are more focused on the Fed’s next move, said Natalie Trunow, the chief investment officer at Calvert Investments.

“There’s this counterintuitive reaction to economic news,” Ms. Trunow said. “Positive data comes out and markets aren’t excited about it. They say, ‘Uh-oh, the stimulus will be removed.’ ”

Wal-Mart fell $1.99, or 3 percent, to $74.41 after the company cut its profit and revenue forecasts for 2013. It also reported second-quarter results that missed Wall Street’s estimates.

Shares of Cisco Systems fell $1.89, or 7 percent, to $24.49, for the biggest drop of the 30 big companies in the Dow, after the company announced plans late on Wednesday to cut 5 percent of its work force, roughly 4,000 employees, as its sales slow.

Cisco’s announcement led to selling in other technology stocks, as it is widely regarded as a bellwether for the entire industry. That is because the company sells a wide range of products to corporations and governments and its fiscal quarters end a month later than most major technology companies’, which gives investors an early look into current conditions.

The Dow has slumped 2 percent so far this week, and the S. P. 500 is down 1.8 percent. However, the Dow is up 15.3 percent for the year so far, while the S. P. 500 is up 16.5 percent. Both indexes closed at nominal highs on Aug. 2.

In the bond market, interest rates climbed, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for interest rates on mortgage loans, jumped as high as 2.81 percent in early trading. The selling in the 10-year note eased a bit later in the day and its price ended down 15/32, to 97 22/32, giving it a yield of 2.77 percent, up from 2.71 percent late on Wednesday.

Higher long-term interest rates could cool housing sales. “A sharp increase in long-term rates translates into a sharp increase in mortgage rates,” Ms. Trunow said. “That’s bound to impact the housing market.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/16/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Posts Worst Week Since June With Fed in Mind

All but one of the 10 SP 500 sector indexes ended lower.

The stock of J.C. Penney Co. skidded 5.8 percent to $12.87 and ranked as the SP 500’s biggest percentage decliner. Bill Ackman, the company’s top investor, urged the retailer’s board on Friday to replace its chairman.

Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, reiterated late Thursday that the central bank will probably begin cutting back on its massive bond-buying stimulus next month, as long as economic data continues to improve.

The lack of clarity over the Fed’s plans gave investors reason to pull a record $3.27 billion out of U.S.-based funds that hold Treasuries in the latest week ended August 7, data from Thomson Reuters’ Lipper service showed on Thursday.

“People are looking ahead to the September FOMC meeting and the prospect that the Fed begins its long-awaited exit strategy,” said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial, in Westport, Connecticut.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 72.81 points, or 0.47 percent, to end at 15,425.51. The Standard Poor’s 500 Index declined 6.06 points, or 0.36 percent, to 1,691.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 9.02 points, or 0.25 percent, to close at 3,660.11.

For the week, stocks posted their biggest declines since mid-June. The Dow fell 1.5 percent, snapping a six-week string of gains. The SP 500 dropped 1.1 percent for the week and the Nasdaq slid 0.8 percent.

A week ago, both the Dow and the SP 500 ended at record closing highs.

Stocks extended losses late in the session. President Barack Obama said he will make a decision on the nomination for the Federal Reserve chairman in the fall. Fed Chairman Bernanke is expected to step down when his second four-year term ends on January 31.

Bernanke rattled markets in late May by saying the Fed would begin to ease back on its stimulus program once the economy shows some improvement.

While many investors are concerned that economic growth will stall without the Fed’s help, stock prices have been supported by some strong earnings and encouraging data overseas.

The SP 500 is up 18.6 percent for the year so far.

In China, industrial output rose more than expected, adding to a string of data that indicated the economy may be stabilizing after an extended period of tepid growth.

U.S. economic data showed wholesale inventories unexpectedly fell 0.2 percent in June, marking a second straight month of declines, versus expectations calling for a gain of 0.4 percent.

U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry Ltd jumped 5.7 percent to $9.76 after Reuters reported that the Canadian smartphone maker was warming to the idea of going private, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Priceline.com Inc, rose 3.9 percent to $969.89 a day after the online travel company reported earnings that beat expectations and gave a strong outlook. Some analysts speculate the stock’s price will cross $1,000 soon, which would be a first for a Standard Poor’s 500 stock.

Earnings season is winding down, with 446 companies in the SP 500 having already reported. Of those, 68 percent have exceeded analysts’ expectations, slightly above the 67 percent beat rate over the past four quarters, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Volume was roughly 5.3 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the average daily closing volume of about 6.36 billion this year.

Decliners slightly outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a ratio of about 15 to 14. On the Nasdaq, about three stocks fell for every two that rose.

(Editing by Nick Zieminski and Jan Paschal)

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/08/09/business/09reuters-markets-stocks.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

News From Egypt Stymies Indexes

The stock market ended slightly lower on Tuesday after reports of intensifying political turmoil in Egypt offset good news about the American economy.

Stocks rose much of the day on positive news about car sales, manufacturing and home prices. But the major market indexes turned lower in the afternoon as hundreds of thousands of protesters demand that President Mohamed Morsi be ousted.

The price of oil climbed close to $100 a barrel on concern that the crisis could disrupt the flow of crude oil from the region.

“It’s more or less Egypt unrest,” said Sal L. Arnuk, a co-founder of Themis Trading. “These very large protests are being televised and broadcast — that’s spooking people.”

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index, which had been up as much as 9 points shortly before midday, closed down 0.88 point, or 0.1 percent, at 1,614.08.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,932.41 The Nasdaq composite index slipped 1.09 points, a fraction of a percent, at 3,433.40

Trading activity was lighter than normal as July 4 holiday nears. The stock market will close at 1 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday and reopen Friday.

Crude oil rose about $1 a barrel on news of the worsening political situation in Egypt. Oil closed up $1.61 at $99.60 a barrel in New York. It last crossed $100 on Sept. 14.

The market’s early gains came after several strong economic reports. Auto sales reached 7.8 million in the first six months of the year, the highest first-half total since 2007. Factory orders rose 2.3 percent in May, helped by a third straight month of stronger business investment. And home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May from a year earlier, the most in seven years, according to the real estate data provider CoreLogic. Economists are forecasting that the American economy added 165,000 jobs last month, according to data compiled by FactSet.

Investors and traders are also starting to focus on the quarterly corporate earnings season, which begin in earnest next week. Most corporate profits have come from cutting costs rather than increasing sales.

“We’re in the middle of a transition,” said Christopher J. Wolfe, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. “You would expect to see, over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macroeconomic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth.”

In the bond market, interest rates showed little change. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note, rose 1/32, to 93 23/32, while its yield slipped to 2.47 percent, from 2.48 percent late Monday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Rally, Awaiting Fed

But the Federal Reserve loomed large, with investors trying to guess what the central bank will say on Wednesday about how long it plans to keep its stimulus programs in place.

The market’s gains were steady and broad. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose 12.77 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,651.81. All 10 of its sectors rose, led by industrial and telecommunications companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.38 points, or 0.91 percent, to 15,318.23. The Nasdaq composite index rose 30.05 points, or 0.87 percent, to 3,482.18.

The wait-and-see atmosphere had a familiar template. The Fed has had an outsize effect on the stock market in recent weeks, with the major indexes seesawing as investors try to guess how long the central bank will keep supporting the economy.

Some investors say it is troubling that the market is relying more on the central bank for direction than on economic fundamentals. The latest turning point was May 22, when Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman, startled markets by announcing that the Fed could soon pull back on its bond-buying program if the economy improves.

“Here we are again,” said Gregg S. Fisher, chief investment officer of Gerstein Fisher, a financial advisory firm in New York. “We don’t know what the actions will be. We’re all trying to figure that out.”

The Fed, which is best known for helping set interest rates, has taken an increasingly bigger role in trying to bolster the economy since the 2008 financial crisis. Its bond-buying program is meant to keep interest rates low, which can encourage borrowing and drive investors into the stock market. The Fed’s purchases have swollen its portfolio to $3.4 trillion, a fourfold increase since before the crisis.

Analysts predicted that Mr. Bernanke would use his news conference on Wednesday to cast a reassuring tone and make it clear that the Fed will not pull back on any of its programs until it is certain that the economy can handle it. He is also likely to drop more hints about when the Fed could start trimming its stimulus programs.

Some said that recent market volatility has not been caused by fear that the Fed would pull back on its stimulus programs — most everyone expects that to happen eventually.

The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that the pace of new home building increased in May, helped by more buyers coming to the market and a scarcity of houses for sale.

The Labor Department reported that consumer prices rose last month, but only slightly.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 2/32, to 96 5/32, bringing the yield up to 2.19 percent, from 2.18 percent late Monday.

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

A Breather for a Day, as Health Care Stocks Do the Heavy Lifting

Stocks changed little on Monday, pausing after hitting highs last week, though strength in health care shares helped keep declines in check.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 26.81 points, or 0.18 percent, at 15,091.68. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was very slightly up, by 0.07 point, at 1,633.77. The Nasdaq composite index was up 2.21 points, or 0.06 percent, at 3,438.79.

The S. P. 500 health care sector climbed 0.7 percent and was the day’s best performer.

Shares of the biopharmaceutical company Theravance jumped 17.9 percent, to $41.20, after the Irish drugmaker Elan agreed to a $1 billion deal to buy 21 percent of the royalties that Theravance receives from GlaxoSmithKline for its respiratory drugs.

Other big health sector gainers included Pfizer, up 2.3 percent, at $29.37; Gilead, up 3.1 percent, at $54.47; and Biogen Idec, up 4.5 percent, at $222.74. The day’s flat close came after a third straight week of gains on the major indexes, with both the Dow and S. P. 500 setting record closing highs last week. The S. P. 500 remains up 14.5 percent for the year so far.

While some analysts argue the long-term trend is still higher, many see momentum for stocks waning in the near term without more positive catalysts. Trading volume has been lighter than average, and volatility has been low in recent days.

“Intraday volatility has essentially been nonexistent. I think it means people are really sitting on the sidelines right now seeing which way it’s going to go,” said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York. He expects the rally to top out in the next two weeks.

The CBOE Volatility index, or VIX, a measure of market expectations and stability, ended down 0.3 percent.

Among the day’s declining issues, the fast-food chain operator Yum Brands fell 2 percent, to $68.92. After the market closed on Friday, Yum posted a steep decline in April sales in China.

Retail sales rose 0.1 percent in April, better than the 0.3 percent drop that had been expected and a return to growth after a decline in March, which helped buoy markets on Monday. Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, core sales rose 0.5 percent. Retail sales account for about 30 percent of American consumer spending.

Investors are at odds over whether positive economic data can help the market rise further, or whether it will spell the end of the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus, which could derail the rally, said Joseph S. Tanious, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

Other economic data released on Monday showed business inventories were unchanged in March for a second straight month, versus expectations of a 0.3 percent rise, suggesting that restocking could help second-quarter economic growth.

Earnings have been mostly better than expected. With 90 percent of the S. P. 500 having reported, 67.2 percent of companies topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. Only 46.9 percent have beaten revenue expectations, below the 52 percent average over the last four quarters.

Shares of the Israeli Internet company Perion Network listed in the United States surged 10.6 percent, to $13.94, after it posted quarterly earnings.

Volume was roughly 5.3 billion shares traded on the New York markets, well below the average daily closing volume of about 6.4 billion this year.

The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 5/32 to 98 16/32, pushing the yield up to 1.92, from 1.90 on Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

S.&P. 500 Hits Record in Quiet Trading

The stock market showed little change in quiet trading as the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index reached another nominal record high.

The financial sector rallied after Bank of America and MBIA, the troubled bond insurer, reached a settlement of their long legal dispute over mortgage-backed securities.

A jump in Apple’s shares helped lift the S. P. 500 and the Nasdaq composite index modestly. But the Dow Jones industrial average bucked the trend, ending marginally lower.

The day’s slight gains followed a strong run in stocks this year. The market has been lifted by the Federal Reserve’s monetary stimulus policy, which has kept interest rates low, and solid earnings. The S. P. 500 has gained 13.4 percent this year.

“As long as you continue to have decent earnings reports and the support from central banks around the world providing liquidity, it’s going to be hard to derail this market, at least in the short term,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

On Monday, Bank of America said it would settle claims with MBIA for $1.7 billion, lifting shares of both companies and the S. P. financial sector index, which gained 1 percent. MBIA shares jumped 45.4 percent to $14.29 and Bank of America shares rose 5.2 percent to $12.88.

Apple was among the top gainers after Barclays raised its price target on the stock. Apple’s shares shot up 2.4 percent to $460.71.

The Dow industrials dipped 5.07 points, to close at 14,968.89. The S. P. 500 inched up 3.08 points, or 0.19 percent, to 1,617.50. The Nasdaq gained 14.34 points, or 0.42 percent, to close at 3,392.97.

Although weak economic data from the euro zone and China has caused concerns about the outlook for global growth, the stronger-than-expected April employment report fueled gains that sent the Dow and the S. P. 500 to new nominal record levels last Friday.

The multibillionaire investor Warren E. Buffett said on Monday that stocks were “reasonably priced,” although the Dow and the S. P. 500 had hit nominal highs. But he also said low interest rates had made bonds “terrible” investments because their prices would fall when rates eventually rise.

But some analysts say they suspect the stock rally has little strength to continue.

The market “is discounting a tremendous amount of good news now, which I don’t think is going to be substantiated, and I don’t think it’s allowing for any possibility of bad news,” said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners.

Earnings have been mostly higher than expected, with 68.5 percent of companies surpassing estimates. At the same time, second-quarter estimates have fallen as outlooks remain more negative than positive.

On Monday, shares of Tyson Foods dropped 3.3 percent to $24.10 after the company posted a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit and cut its full-year sales forecast.

In contrast, Humana jumped 2.1 percent to $75.49, making it one of the S. P. 500’s biggest percentage gainers. JPMorgan Chase upgraded the stock to overweight.

But Johnson Johnson’s shares slid 1.3 percent to $84.68. General Motors’ stock also declined, falling 0.9 percent, to $31.82, after the Treasury said it would begin another round of sales of G.M. stock acquired during the government’s bailout of the auto industry.

In the bond market, interest rates rose again on Monday after their surge last Friday following the strong April employment report. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note fell 22/32, to 102 4/32, while its yield rose to 1.76 percent, from 1.74 percent on Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/07/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Soar to New Highs on Jobs Data

The indexes’ surge to fresh records was propelled by the announcement that the economy added 168,000 jobs in April and significantly more than had been initially reported in February and March.

The job growth is still barely enough to keep up with the expansion of the population, but just a few weeks ago stock prices were falling on fears that the labor market might be shrinking.

Investors have become accustomed to big slowdowns in late spring; downturns have hit about this time each of the last three years. This time around, though, the economic data is showing signs of improvement and there are few of the looming threats that sent markets into tailspins in previous years.

“We worried about a double dip each of the last few years,” said Michelle Girard, the chief United States economist at RBS Securities. “I don’t think we will get to that point this time.”

“The U.S. is on more solid footing than at any point in the last couple years,” she added.

The blue-chip Dow briefly rose above 15,000 before slipping back later in the day. But it still finished at a record, up 1 percent, or 142.38 points, at 14,973.96.

The S.P. 500 climbed 1 percent, or 16.83 points to 1,614.42. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.1 percent, or 38.01 points to 3,378.63. The technology-heavy index is still well below the peak it hit during the dot-com boom in 2000.

The gains built on a nearly two-week long rally that has brought the S.P. 500 up 13.2 percent for the year. The dissipating concerns were also evident in the sell-off in Treasury bonds, which investors have flocked to in times of danger. The interest rate on the 10-year government bond rose to 1.741 percent, up 11.5 basis points.

Still, the outlook is not entirely rosy. Chinese growth, one of the few reliable engines of the global economy, has been slowing more than expected. Meanwhile in Europe, most countries have fallen into recession again. The Cypriot banking crisis earlier this year showed how sensitive traders still are to any flare-up of problems in Europe’s financial system. Last summer’s market swoon was set off by fears that Greece would have to leave the European Union.

But investors have been comforted by the European Central Bank’s insistence that it will provide a backstop if there are new problems on the continent. This week, the central bank dropped its benchmark interest rate to the lowest level ever in an effort to encourage economic growth. Stock indexes across Europe are up this year, and rose Friday after the jobs report.

The moves by the E.C.B. provide a reminder of just how important central banks have been in the market’s recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. In the United States, the Federal Reserve gave reassurances this week that it was not planning to taper off its economic stimulus programs any time soon.

While the easy money has been a big help to banks, there are signs that the Fed policy is beginning to provide support for the real economy as well. The employment report on Friday showed that the size of the United States work force grew in March, while the number of long-term unemployed shrunk.

But the new data, like many other recent economic reports, was more indicative of slow expansion than roaring growth. A survey of the American service sector, released Friday, showed the lowest level of growth since last summer.

“These numbers aren’t going to be bringing down the unemployment rate in a serious fashion,” said Jonathan Lewis, the chief investment officer at Samson Capital Advisors. “No one is going to say it is robust, but people were so geared up for a weaker than expected number that these numbers have led to a lot of buoyancy in the market.”

The meager growth has made it hard for companies to expand their revenues. In the first quarter of this year, revenues have been flat among companies in the SP 500, according to Thomson Reuters. But companies have used cost cutting, and the easy availability of credit to continue to rake in record profits, the most important factor in stock prices.

Share prices have risen so quickly this year that there are questions about whether it can continue without economic growth picking up. If it does slowdown, though, strategists are expecting it to be more gradual, unlike the vacation-interrupting crises of recent summers.

“The further we get from the crisis, the more it clear that central bankers have put a floor on the next big event,” Mr. Lewis said. “It seems less likely that you’ll have that sudden severe sell-off.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/04/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street Rebounds, Lifted by Technology Earnings

Strong earnings from two technology giants helped the stock market recover some of its losses on Friday, a positive end to Wall Street’s worst week in five months.

Microsoft and Google both beat earnings expectations this week, yields of government bonds ticked up, and copper, a crucial industrial metal, continued its fall, losing 2 percent.

Microsoft shares gained 3.39 percent, to $29.76, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average higher. It reported earnings late Thursday that beat analysts’ forecasts and showed solid results from its Office, software tools and Xbox divisions. Google’s stock climbed 4.43 percent, to $799.87. It raised its prices for ads distributed to smartphones and tablet computers.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose 13.64 points, to 1,555.25, up 0.88 percent. The Dow gained 0.07 percent, or 10.37 points, to 14,547.51.

The Dow spent most of the day down, pulled lower by disappointing results from I.B.M., whose shares slipped 8.28 percent, to an even $190. The company’s earnings fell short of forecasts for the first time since 2005.

The Nasdaq composite index gained 39.70 points, to 3,206.06, up 1.25 percent.

Traders, like everyone else, were following the news out of Boston, where police were hunting for one of two brothers suspected to be behind the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday. But the news had no impact on markets, traders said.

The slight gains on Friday could not overcome a tough week for the market, when both the S. P. 500 and the Dow lost 2.1 percent. That is their biggest weekly drop since last November.

“Compared to the rest of the week, it looks like we’re going to slide into the weekend on a quiet note,” said Jim Baird, partner and chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

By many measures, the markets have endured a rough five days. News that economic growth had slowed in China set off a slide in commodity prices on Monday, leading the stock market to its worst day of the year. Gold dropped below $1,400 an ounce for the first time in two years.

The stock market bounced back the next day, then fell again on Wednesday, its third-worst day this year.

Most big corporations have beaten analysts’ low expectations for first-quarter profits. Of the 104 companies that turned in results through Friday morning, 70 have topped forecasts, according to SP Capital IQ.

Analysts estimate that earnings for companies in the S. P. 500 rose just 2 percent over the previous year, a slowdown from the 7.7 percent rise in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Next week will be another big week for earnings as 10 members of the Dow and 181 companies in the S. P. 500 report results.

Interest rates gained. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.71 percent, up from 1.69 percent late Thursday, while its price fell 6/32 to 102 21/32.

Traders cautiously returned to buying certain major commodities on Friday, including gold and oil, after big sell-offs early this week. But copper continued its fall, losing 2 percent to $3.16 a pound.

Rex Macey, the chief investment officer at the Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, said markets were bound to encounter turbulence as long as the economy advanced at a slow pace.

Forecasts say the United States economy will expand 2 percent this year.

Joseph Tanious, a global market strategist at J. P. Morgan Funds, said: “We’re going to have a stronger 2013 than 2012.”

He added, “But the recovery is going to be much more bumpy than people thought.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 19, 2013

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article misstated the day’s change for General Electric stock. It was down 4 percent, not 0.9 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/20/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Shares Move Up After Fed Release

Wall Street traded strongly higher on Wednesday as investors scooped up technology and financial shares that have lagged gains in other sectors recently.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 1.1 percent in afternoon trading, hitting its highest level ever and breaking a record that had stood since October 2007. The benchmark index hit and then surpassed 1,567.10 to break its previous intraday high.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.9 percent in afternoon trading and the Nasdaq composite index added 1.7 percent. The Dow closed at a fresh record on Tuesday.

Financial shares helped lead Wednesday’s advance, with the S.P. financial sector index gaining 1.1 percent and the S.P. information technology sector index up 1.7 percent. In the past month, both sectors have lagged as investors pushed into more defensive areas, including health care and consumer staples.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in March, released early on Wednesday, showed that a few policy makers expected to taper the pace of asset purchases by midyear and end them later this year, while several others expected to slow the pace a bit later and halt the quantitative easing program by year-end.

But because the meeting referenced in Wednesday’s minutes occurred before last week’s unemployment data — which showed that job creation was unexpectedly weak in March — the market may place less importance on it, said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.

Earlier, encouraging data from China buoyed investors’ optimism. Imports of key commodities rebounded in March, signaling domestic demand was picking up and would help drive the economy. Asian markets ended moderately higher, and European stocks were trading ahead about 2 percent in afternoon trading.

Investors were also positioning for the start of corporate earnings season. Among the 5 percent of S.P. 500 companies that have reported results so far, almost three-quarters have topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Family Dollar Stores reported weaker-than-expected profit on Wednesday. The stock started the day lower, but was up 0.3 percent by early afternoon.

Health Management Associates cut its outlook for 2013 earnings and revenue, citing weak patient admissions in the first quarter of the year. The stock slumped 16.8 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks End Higher

Wall Street stocks rose in a volatile session on Monday as investors were reluctant to make large bets going into an earnings season that is expected to be lackluster.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index ended 0.6 percent higher, while the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite index added 0.6 percent.

Earnings forecasts have been scaled back heading into first-quarter reports. Profits from companies in the S.P. 500 are expected to have risen just 1.6 percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from a 4.3 percent forecast in January.

A weaker-than-expected jobs report on Friday prompted concern that the American economy is in a slow patch.

Despite those headwinds, the loose monetary policy from central banks around the world continues to attract investors to equities, said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.

“It’s all about easy money, and it’s lifting equities around the globe at this time,” Mr. Cardillo said.

The Bank of Japan started its bond purchases after it announced last week that it would inject about $1.4 trillion into the economy in less than two years.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program has been a significant catalyst of the recent rally that has sent major indexes to record levels.

Still, markets in the United States could see a technical correction of about 6 to 8 percent in the latter part of the month as the focus turns to corporate results, Mr. Cardillo said.

Alcoa, JPMorgan Chase and Bed Bath Beyond are among the first major companies set to announce results this week.

Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, will give a speech after markets close on Monday. Investors have been watching for any insight into the Fed’s thinking on how long the central bank will keep its asset purchase program in place as it tries to bolster the economic recovery.

General Electric said it will buy oil field services provider Lufkin Industries for about $3.3 billion, sending Lufkin shares up 38 percent. G.E. slipped 0.2 percent.

Investors will be keeping an eye on the latest developments out of the euro zone after a constitutional court in Portugal overturned key austerity measures in the government’s latest budget. Portugal’s prime minister said the government would cut spending to meet targets agreed with its lenders. European stock markets ended largely unchanged.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss