Financial sector leads stocks' rise

This article was originally published on this site

Stocks closed slightly higher Tuesday, erasing the market’s modest losses from a day earlier.

The gains, which followed a rally in overseas stock indexes, came as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings reports.

The S&P 500 index rose 1.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,907.06. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 67.89 points, or 0.3 percent, to 26,452.66. The Nasdaq composite added 24.21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 8,000.23. The index had not closed above 8,000 since October.

The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks picked up 3.62 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,582.79.

Financial stocks led the way as bond yields rose, which drives interest rates higher and enables banks to make more money on loans. BlackRock and Progressive led the sector after each company reported solid quarterly results.

Qualcomm powered technology-sector stocks higher, notching its best day in 20 years after news that the chipmaker and Apple settled their legal dispute.

Investors are looking at the corporate earnings reports over the next few weeks for clues about the health of the global economy and the prospects for company profits this year.

Banks kicked off the latest quarterly reporting season last week with mixed results. Analysts expect the first-quarter results for S&P 500 companies overall to be the weakest in nearly three years.

“The markets are prepared for this year-over-year decline that everyone is expecting in earnings,” said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. “Unless we have some significant misses, we should be doing OK.”

U.S. stocks have had a torrid start to the year after the Federal Reserve said it may not raise interest rates at all in 2019. The benchmark S&P 500 remains within 0.8 percent of its record high, set Sept. 20.

What investors take away from the slew of company earnings reports over the next few weeks will likely be a key driver of the market’s moves.

Companies that posted encouraging results helped put traders in a buying mood Tuesday.

Progressive jumped 6.9 percent after the insurer’s latest quarterly results topped analysts’ forecasts. BlackRock gained 3.2 percent after the investment firm reported first-quarter profit that surged past Wall Street forecasts as a rebounding market helped to increase assets.

Bank of America inched 0.1 percent higher after the nation’s second-largest bank reported strong earnings growth but gave a weak forecast for net interest income, a key performance metric for banks.

Johnson & Johnson bucked the broader declines in the health care sector. Shares in the world’s biggest maker of health care products rose 1.1 percent after the company’s first-quarter results topped Wall Street’s forecasts, even after its profit slumped 14 percent because of a decline in sales overseas and higher costs for research and litigation.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services fell 4.9 percent after the Lowell-based trucking and logistics company’s first-quarter profit and revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations.

Qualcomm shares surged 23.2 percent after the chipmaker and Apple settled their financial dispute centered on some of the technology that enables iPhones to connect to the Internet.

The deal requires Apple to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount. It also includes a six-year licensing agreement that likely involves recurring payments to the chipmaker.

Business on 04/17/2019