April 18, 2024

Markets Higher on Unemployment Claims

The Dow Jones industrial average extended its winning streak to 10 days on Thursday and ended at another nominal high as investors were encouraged by data showing that the labor market’s recovery was improving.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index made a late-day run at its nominal closing high, set in October 2007, but it ended two points away. The Dow industrials have been setting nominal highs, unadjusted for inflation, since March 5, when they surpassed a high also set in October 2007.

The last time the Dow rose for 10 consecutive days was November 1996.

Stocks have accelerated their rally without a major consolidation since the start of the year, driven by improvement in the economy and the Federal Reserve’s continuation of its easy monetary policy.

So far this year, the Dow is up nearly 11 percent, while the S. P. 500 is up 9.6 percent.

“It’s simply a natural progression for prices to move to new highs in order for the market to advance. I don’t think it’s scaring investors,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of the Solaris Group.

“Fund flows really have reversed direction, and money started moving out of money markets, and some from fixed income to equities,” Mr. Ghriskey said. “This kind of trend doesn’t change easily, so we can expect a lot more to come in.”

The Dow industrials gained 83.86 points, or 0.6 percent, to 14,539.14. The S. P. 500 rose 8.71 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,563.23.

The Nasdaq composite index advanced 13.81 points, or 0.4 percent, to end at 3,258.93, still well below its nominal high of 5,000, reached in the dot-com boom in 2000.

Data on Thursday provided fresh signs of strength in the United States labor market as the number of new filings for unemployment benefits fell for the third consecutive week.

Ten of the Dow’s 30 stocks hit at least 52-week highs, including Walt Disney. I.B.M.’s shares hit a high of $215.80, up $3.74, or 1.8 percent.

Energy shares led the Dow and the S. P. 500 higher, with the S. P. energy sector index gaining 1.3 percent. Chevron was among the Dow’s biggest percentage gainers, rising $1.64, or 1.4 percent, to $120.

After the bell, the Federal Reserve released scores for 18 bank holding companies that showed how low their capital ratios would fall under proposed plans for dividends and stock buybacks if “severely adverse” economic conditions unfolded over the next two years. JPMorgan Chase shares fell 2 percent in extended-hours trading, while Goldman Sachs fell 1.9 percent.

During the regular session, Apple rose $4.15, or 1 percent, to $432.50, even though its rival, Samsung Electronics, introduced a new Galaxy smartphone on Thursday.

Shares of eBay, operator of one of the largest online marketplaces, climbed 82 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $51.80 after Evercore Partners raised its rating on the company to overweight.

On the downside, shares of Amazon, the world’s biggest Internet retailer, fell $9.36, or 3.4 percent, to $265.74 after JPMorgan cut its rating to neutral from overweight and reduced its price target to $300 from $333.

E*Trade shares lost 97 cents, or 8.2 percent, to $10.85 after Citadel, the company’s largest investor, said it was selling its stake in the company.

In the bond market, interest rates moved modestly higher. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note slipped 4/32, to 99 22/32, while its yield rose to 2.04 percent from 2.02 percent late Wednesday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks Rise After Solid Corporate Earnings Reports

Strong earnings reports from big United States companies helped push the Dow Jones industrial average to its eighth gain in nine sessions on Tuesday.

DuPont, Verizon and the Travelers Companies, three of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, closed higher after reporting their financial results for the final quarter of 2012.

The Dow closed up 62.51 points, or 0.5 percent, at 13,712.21. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 6.56 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,492.56. The Nasdaq composite average rose 8.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,143.18.

The indexes spent the morning showing small gains and losses. Around noon, the Dow rose decisively and stayed higher for the rest of the day. Earnings have been strong enough this season to drive a five-day winning streak for the S. P. 500 and put the Dow on track for its biggest monthly percentage gain since October 2011.

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago, said traders had been encouraged by the number of companies beating analysts’ expectations for profit. “Granted, we have diminished expectations, but companies are doing a decent job beating on the profit side,” he said. The revenue side of the equation has been weaker, Mr. Ablin said, preventing a stronger updraft for stocks. Traders might gain more confidence if companies were to report stronger demand from emerging markets and Europe, he said. “The U.S. has been pulling this wagon by itself for the last couple years, and now we’re facing some austerity measures. We could certainly use a hand,” he said.

Among the Dow components that reported early Tuesday, the chemical and bioscience company DuPont reported a sharp decline in net income on weakness in its electronics, communications and other businesses, but the results still beat analysts’ forecasts. DuPont’s stock closed up 83 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $47.82.

Johnson Johnson said higher sales helped raise its profit from a year ago, when results were weighed down by a spate of one-time charges. The company’s 2013 profit forecast, however, fell short of analysts’ estimates. The company’s share price dropped 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $72.69.

Shares of Verizon Communications rose after the country’s biggest wireless carrier said it activated a record number of new devices on contract-based plans in the fourth quarter. Verizon’s net loss widened on restructuring and pension costs and expenses related to the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy. Its stock rose 40 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $42.94.

A fourth member of the Dow 30, the Travelers Companies, the property and casualty insurer, rose strongly after it reported a rise in core income categories like investments and number of premiums written. Net income fell because of claims filed after Sandy. The stock rose $1.64, or 2.2 percent, to $77.95. .

The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note slipped 1/32, to 98 2/32, and the yield finished at 1.84 percent, unchanged from late Friday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/23/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

ArtsBeat: Swift’s ‘Red’ Tops a Million Sales in Week 1

Her products are for sale in a special display at Walgreens stores. She has a line of Keds shoes. She’s all over Target ads. She was even part of a deal at Papa John’s, which dressed countless pizza boxes with a photo of her lipsticked face.

All that branding paid off for Taylor Swift, whose latest album, “Red” (Big Machine), sold 1.208 million copies in its first week out — the biggest weekly take for any album since 2002, Billboard reported on Tuesday night, citing data from Nielsen SoundScan. The album will, naturally, open at No. 1 on Billboard’s new album chart, which will be released in full on Wednesday.

The success of “Red” continues a winning streak for Ms. Swift, 22. Her last record, “Speak Now,” opened with just over 1 million sales two years ago, and she is the only woman to have two albums selling a million copies in one week since 1991, when SoundScan began keeping tracking sales from music retailers. Only 18 albums, counting “Red,” have sold a million in one week, and even in this era of depressed music sales, a bunch have happened recently: Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” hit the mark last year, “Speak Now” in 2010 and Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III” in 2008.

In its report, Billboard noted that 465,000 sales of the album were made at iTunes, 396,000 at Target and 8,000 through Papa John’s, which sold the CD for $13 and also as part of a $22 pizza-and-CD combo. (“I don’t think it would look right on a hamburger or a taco, but it sure looks right on a Papa John’s box,” the chain’s founder, John Schnatter, said of the deal.)

One outlet where fans could not get “Red,” however, was Spotify. As other record companies have done with some major new releases, Ms. Swift’s label, Big Machine, withheld the album from the subscription streaming services like Spotify and Rdio. Some labels believe that doing so will spur download sales, or at least not cannibalize them — in the all-important first sales week.

But recently another big-selling album challenged that assumption: Mumford Sons’ “Babel” opened at No. 1 with 600,000 sales in its first week — including both CDs and album downloads — while also being available on Spotify, where it was streamed eight million times in its first week, a record for the service.

Article source: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/30/swifts-red-tops-a-million-sales-in-week-1/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: ‘Today’ Producer Says Ouster of Ann Curry Was His Choice

Jim Bell, the executive producer of the Peter Kramer/NBC Jim Bell, the executive producer of the “Today” show.

8:24 p.m. | Updated

For the first time since removing Ann Curry from “Today” on NBC, the show’s executive producer on Wednesday defended that decision and sought to define the cause of its recent ratings setbacks, including the end of its 16-year weekly winning streak.

The producer, Jim Bell, said it “was absolutely my call” to replace Ms. Curry as co-anchor of the “Today” show in June after only a year on the job. While “Today” lost its longstanding lead over ABC’s “Good Morning America” in April, before Ms. Curry was ousted, its ratings have continued to erode since her departure.

“GMA” has won the last six weeks by margins ranging from 255,000 viewers to 883,000. It has also beaten “Today” by increasingly sizable margins in the category most important to advertisers, viewers ages 25 to 54. Last week, “GMA” won that group by 234,000 viewers, its biggest edge since it took over first place.

In a telephone interview, Mr. Bell offered numerous reasons that “GMA” had taken over as the regular leader in the morning news competition, including the sheer difficulty of maintaining dominance for so long. But he pointed in particular to what he called the difference in the show’s approaches, calling “Today” a “more serious show” and accusing “GMA” of “doing something else.”

Asked if he was suggesting “GMA” was now a tabloid-style program, Mr. Bell said, “That’s what I’m saying.”

ABC News on Wednesday responded by first pointing to the scoreboard. “I think the audience has spoken loud and clear about its preference in the morning,” said Julie Townsend, spokeswoman for ABC News.

ABC executives were also eager to note that such a description could be applied to a recent “Today” interview with Kris Jenner, mother of television’s most popular tabloid family, the Kardashians, about her breast implants. (That interview drew attention because it came when the other morning news programs were observing a moment of silence for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.)

Mr. Bell declined to call the original choice of Ms. Curry to succeed Meredith Vieira a mistake — “Ann had earned it,” he said — but he noted that Ms. Curry is now “in the role she is naturally suited for.” (Ms. Curry is now a special correspondent for the show, reporting, so far, mostly on international news; on Wednesday, she interviewed Libya’s interim president, Mohammed Magarief.)

Mr. Bell defended the appointment of Savannah Guthrie as the co-anchor beside Matt Lauer, calling her an important part of a “long view” plan for “Today” to regain the top ratings position. He specifically denied recent reports that the decision to remove Ms. Curry was a response to demands by Mr. Lauer, who recently renegotiated his contract.

“It was definitely not Matt’s call,” Mr. Bell said. “He is the host and does not have management responsibility. It was not his call. That was my call.”

Mr. Bell also expressed incredulity at recent reports that Mr. Lauer had been more vocal in his demands about the show, and had begun berating staff members. “These stories portraying Matt in a negative light are just preposterous,” Mr. Bell said. “Matt is the heart and soul of the broadcast. He has a heart of gold. This stuff about him has been very irresponsible and in a lot of cases flat-out wrong.”

Nor is “Today” facing any budget cuts to compensate for paying Mr. Lauer a reported $25 million a year, Mr. Bell said. “There is no plan for any cutbacks of layoffs for any of the staff,” he said. As for any reduction to Mr. Lauer’s salary, which was reported in The Daily News this week, “that could not be more wrong,” Mr. Bell said.

Asked what viewers could expect in the way of changes to affect this long-view approach, Mr. Bell said, “You just have to watch.”


Bill Carter writes about the television industry. Follow @wjcarter on Twitter.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/executive-producer-of-today-says-ouster-of-ann-curry-was-his-call/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: Roberts Leaves ‘Good Morning America’ for Medical Treatment

Robin Roberts, second from left, on ABC's Good Morning America. Ms. Roberts signed off from the show on Thursday.Fred Lee/ABCRobin Roberts, second from left, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Ms. Roberts signed off from the show on Thursday.

Starting Friday, ABC’s “Good Morning America” — which has surged ahead of the “Today” show in recent weeks to become the No. 1 morning television show in America — will be without its biggest star, Robin Roberts.

Ms. Roberts, who received a diagnosis of a rare bone marrow disorder in April, is about to undergo a bone marrow transplant that will leave her hospitalized or homebound for four months or more. The break presents clear challenges, not just for Ms. Roberts, who must regain her health, but also for ABC, which earns huge profits from the morning show. It will have to find a way to maintain its nascent winning streak without her.

Ms. Roberts signed off from the show on Thursday, a day earlier than expected, because she needed to visit her 88-year-old mother, who is ill, in Pass Christian, Miss. “I love you and I’ll see you soon,” she told viewers, many of whom have gravitated to “Good Morning America” because of her.

There are few if any precedents in the television industry for an extended leave of absence by a host, even on an ensemble show like “Good Morning America.” ABC thus finds itself in an extraordinarily difficult position: it has to keep viewers informed about Ms. Roberts’s condition and encourage them to keep watching the program while she is away, but not appear to be exploitative or insensitive.

News coverage and public sympathy for Ms. Roberts could help “Good Morning America,” or her absence could lead viewers to try other morning shows. Ms. Roberts has been on the program for a decade, longer than any of her co-hosts; research by both ABC and NBC has indicated that she is widely admired by viewers.

“We are determined to maintain the momentum of the program, but we’re also very realistic about the challenge we face,” Ben Sherwood, the president of ABC News, said in an interview on Thursday. Since Ms. Roberts’s announcement in June, he has emphasized internally at ABC News that the co-host chair will remain hers. “Robin is irreplaceable,” he said.

In February, back when “Good Morning America” was No. 2, Ms. Roberts felt abnormally tired while covering the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. She followed up with doctors and, after some blood tests, underwent her first bone marrow test before a vacation at the end of March. (Katie Couric filled in for her, causing a media whirlwind.) When Ms. Roberts came home, the week of April 9, the doctors told her they suspected she had M.D.S., short for myelodysplastic syndromes, a rare blood and bone marrow disorder. She could barely pronounce it.

Further tests were done. On April 19, the same day the Nielsen ratings company confirmed that “Good Morning America” had defeated the NBC “Today” show for the first week in 17 years, Ms. Roberts’s doctors confirmed the diagnosis.

A photo taken of Ms. Roberts and her co-hosts celebrating the ratings victory on April 19 now sits, framed, in her dressing room.

“I look at that picture so differently than everybody else,” she said in an interview last month. “Because that is the day that it was like, ‘Yeah, it’s M.D.S. Yes, you’re going to have a bone marrow transplant. Yes, you’re going to be out for a chunk of time. We don’t know when.’ It was all this — it was such a gray area. It was just maddening.”

Ms. Roberts kept the disorder a secret for weeks. Almost no one at ABC knew that she had been at the doctor’s office when she was invited to interview President Obama in May — an interview that made international headlines for his changed view of gay marriage. On June 11, she told viewers of the diagnosis and said her older sister Sally-Ann, a television anchor in New Orleans, would be her bone marrow donor.

Morning television hosts have let viewers in on their personal struggles before. After her husband died in 1998, Ms. Couric, then at “Today,” drew attention to colorectal cancer and was credited by researchers with a nationwide increase in colonoscopies. (Ms. Roberts has similarly campaigned on behalf of Be The Match, a national marrow donation program.)

But the circumstances now are unique. Ms. Roberts’s leave of absence is taking place in the age of social media, when she can post updates to Twitter and Facebook. And it’s taking place at a time when “Good Morning America” has, for the first time in a generation, tasted victory over “Today.”

Since NBC removed Ann Curry from the co-host chair on “Today” at the end of June, that show has lost to “Good Morning America” every week with two big exceptions during the highly rated Summer Olympics, which were broadcast by NBC. Last week, “Good Morning America” had half a million viewers more than “Today,” one of its best performances to date. The two shows were effectively tied in the crucial demographic of viewers ages 25 to 54, with “Today” winning by just 5,000 last week. Two weeks ago, with Ms. Roberts on vacation, “Good Morning America” beat “Today” by about 200,000 viewers.

Neither Mr. Sherwood nor Tom Cibrowski, the senior executive producer of “Good Morning America,” would predict how the ratings race might change in the months to come. But Mr. Cibrowski said, “We feel that the show has a great amount of confidence and a great amount of buzz around it and that the viewers are going to keep coming.”

They have a detailed plan for fall and winter. Other female ABC News anchors will fill in for Ms. Roberts, one week at a time, beginning with Amy Robach on Friday and Elizabeth Vargas next week. Mr. Cibrowski said Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and Ms. Couric would also fill in.

Many days, they will be joined by celebrity co-hosts in the 8 a.m. hour, including Oprah Winfrey and the cast of the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.” When Ms. Roberts is ready — though they know there is a risk of death from M.D.S., people at ABC never say “if” — she will call into the show via Skype, Mr. Cibrowski said, in a nod to new technology.

Ms. Roberts is scheduled to enter the hospital on Tuesday; the transplant is likely to take place the week after.

Inside the “Good Morning America” studio on Thursday, some members of the staff teared up as the singer Martina McBride played “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” for Ms. Roberts, who remained remarkably composed. After the show ended, Ms. Roberts stood up and said to the staff, “God bless, God speed, and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can,” emphasizing the word “soon.” Then she sought out Mr. Sherwood, who hugged her and wiped away a tear.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/30/roberts-leaves-good-morning-america-for-medical-treatment/?partner=rss&emc=rss