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US Stocks Push Nasdaq to New Record    04/27 16:08

   U.S. stock indexes fluttered up and down Thursday, then ended the day a hair 
above where they started. The slight gains were enough to nudge the Nasdaq 
composite to another record and the Standard & Poor's 500 index to within a 
whisper of its all-time high.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stock indexes fluttered up and down Thursday, then 
ended the day a hair above where they started. The slight gains were enough to 
nudge the Nasdaq composite to another record and the Standard & Poor's 500 
index to within a whisper of its all-time high.

   It was the second straight day where indexes made only modest, meandering 
moves, a downshift from big gains made early in the week. The Standard & Poor's 
500 index rose 1.32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,388.77 and is within a third 
of a percent of its record.

   The Dow Jones industrial average added 6.24 points, less than 0.1 percent, 
to 20,981.33. The Nasdaq composite rose 23.71, or 0.4 percent, to 6,048.94 and 
reached a closing high for the third time in four days.

   Gains by Under Armour, Comcast and other companies reporting 
stronger-than-expected profits on Thursday helped to offset a slump in energy 
stocks. The encouraging reports added to the lengthening list of companies 
saying they earned more in the first three months of 2017 than Wall Street had 
forecast. Analysts expect this to be the strongest quarter of growth in years.

   The reports have helped lift stocks and temper concerns, at least a bit, 
that the market had grown too expensive.

   "Expectations were high, and they needed to deliver, so thankfully they have 
delivered," said Nate Thooft, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset 
Management. "As long as earnings continue to follow through and economic data 
doesn't roll over materially, stocks can keep going. People will say that 
valuations are expensive, but I would say, 'Yeah, but not relative to fixed 
income.'"

   Under Armour jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting 
bigger profits than analysts expected. A rise in sales abroad, particularly in 
Asia, helped push its revenue to $1.12 billion from $1.05 billion in last 
year's first quarter. The company's A-class shares climbed $1.96, or 9.9 
percent, to $21.67.

   PayPal Holdings jumped $2.74, or 6.2 percent, to $47.15 after also reporting 
stronger revenue and earnings than Wall Street had forecast.

   Comcast's A shares rose 80 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $39.59 after stronger 
revenue at theme parks it acquired as part of its NBCUniversal purchase helped 
it to report stronger first-quarter results than analysts expected.

   Even some of the day's losers reported better-than-expected results. 
American Airlines fell $2.42, or 5.2 percent, to $43.98, for example. Investors 
were paying more attention to its plans to raise pay for pilots and flight 
attendants, which would erode future profits, than its earnings from the latest 
quarter.

   Energy stocks were also weak, slumping with the price of oil. Benchmark U.S. 
crude dropped 65 cents, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $48.97 per barrel, while 
Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, fell 38 cents to $51.44 
a barrel.

   Noble Energy lost $1.59, or 4.7 percent, to $32.57, and offshore-drilling 
contractor Transocean fell 39 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $11.06.

   The incremental moves made by stock indexes the last two days belie the many 
crosscurrents coursing through the market. Stocks jumped early in the week, in 
part on relief following the first round of France's presidential election. 
Results indicate France may not try to break apart from the European Union.

   Washington is also a big factor. White House officials unveiled the broad 
outlines of a tax plan Wednesday, though many specifics are still to be 
determined. Expectations for lower taxes, plus less regulation for businesses, 
have helped drive stocks higher since November. A potential shutdown of the 
federal government also looms unless Congress can agree on a spending bill.

   In European stock markets, the French CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent, the German 
DAX slipped 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.7 percent. In 
Asia, the Nikkei 225 in Japan slipped 0.2 percent, South Korea's Kospi added 
0.1 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5 percent.

   The price of gold rose $1.70 to settle at $1,265.90 an ounce, silver slipped 
10 cents to $17.27 per ounce and copper fell a penny to $2.58 per pound.

   Natural gas slipped 3 cents to settle at $3.24 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating 
oil fell 3 cents to $1.51 per gallon and wholesale gasoline dropped 4 cents to 
$1.55 per gallon.

   The euro fell to $1.0882 from $1.0899 late Wednesday while the dollar 
slipped to 111.23 Japanese yen from 111.38 yen. The British pound rose to 
$1.2903 from $1.2843.

   Treasury yields ticked lower as government bond prices rose. The 10-year 
Treasury yield edged down to 2.29 percent from 2.30 percent late Wednesday.


(KA)

 
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