December 5, 2023

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.” 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.

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Bucks Blog: No-Interest Card Offers Making a Comeback

Recently, I got something in the mail that I haven’t seen in awhile: an offer of a credit card with a zero percent introductory rate that stretched for 18 months — for both new purchases and balance transfers.

Apparently, I’m not alone. In fact, if you have a strong credit rating and are in the market for a new card — or perhaps have a big purchase you want to pay off over time, with no interest costs — now may be the time to consider applying for one.

Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of the credit card site, says in his quarterly card report that in the aftermath of the recent recession, card companies are competing heavily for customers who have excellent credit.

Consumers with good credit can benefit from more generous introductory offers, including longer zero percent interest periods for both purchases and balance transfers, lower regular interest rates and higher initial cash-back offers.

For instance, the average zero percent introductory rate for transfers now remains in effect for more than 10 months — or about 2 percent longer than at the end of last year.

Of course, you have to weigh the impact on your credit score of opening another credit card. And balance transfer fees haven’t gone away; they still average about 3 percent unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2012.

Card delinquency rates have fallen as the economy has stabilized, and this has allowed card issuers to pass along savings to the strongest customers, he said.

More details are included in CardHub’s first quarter 2013 Credit Card Landscape Report, which surveys interest rates, rewards and fees in the credit card market.

Have you receive any zero percent offers recently? Are you considering applying for them?

A version of this article appeared in print on 04/27/2013, on page B4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Credit Cards
Offering 0%.

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Markets Mixed in Early Trading

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose for a seventh consecutive day, its longest streak of advances since October 2006.

The index traded briefly above the 1,500 level for the first time since Dec. 12, 2007, but retreated before the close. It ended the day with a gain of 0.01 point, or zero percent, at 1,494.82.

Apple slid $63.51, or 12.35 percent, to $450.50, a day after it posted revenue and iPhone sales that were below expectations.

The decline wiped out nearly $60 billion in Apple’s market capitalization, to $423 billion, leaving the company vulnerable to losing its status as the most valuable company in the nation. In second place is Exxon Mobil with $416.5 billion in market capitalization.

“The market has sent the message it is no longer driven by the whims of Apple,” said Ken Polcari, director of the N.Y.S.E. floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.

Economic data helped buoy equities as factory activity grew the most in nearly two years in January and new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a five-year low last week, giving surprisingly strong signals on the economy’s pulse.

At the same time, Chinese manufacturing grew this month at the fastest rate in about two years, while data suggesting German growth picked up raised hopes for a euro zone recovery.

The manufacturing index “in Asia, Europe, and obviously, here in the United States, is moving in the right direction, and that’s stuff people should be excited about,” Mr. Polcari said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,825.33.

The Nasdaq composite index dropped 23.29 points, or 0.74 percent, to 3,130.38, with most of that loss on Apple’s slide.

The video streaming service Netflix surprised Wall Street on Wednesday with a quarterly profit after it added nearly four million customers in the United States and abroad. Netflix shares surged $43.60, or 42.22 percent, to $146.86, its biggest percentage jump ever.

Earnings have helped drive the stock market’s recent rally. Thomson Reuters data through early Thursday showed that of the 133 S. P. 500 companies that had reported earnings so far, 66.9 percent had exceeded expectations, which was above the 65 percent average over the last four quarters.

Interest rates were also steady. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note fell 7/32, to 97 31/32, and the yield rose to 1.85 percent from 1.83 percent late Wednesday.

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