- Dow Jones Industrial Average up 113.90 (+0.87%) to 13,204.62
- S&P 500up 9.29 (+0.67%) to 1,399.98
- Nasdaq Composite up 20.98 (+0.69%) to 3,050.61
- Nikkei 225 up 0.01%
- Hang Seng Index up 0.79%
- China Shanghai Composite Index down 0.09%
- FTSE 100 up 0.38%
U.S. stocks rose Thursday as a heavy stream of mostly positive earnings and a rise in pending home sales data helped the markets overcome disappointing jobless claims data.
We are officially half way through earnings season. About 51% of the S&P companies have already released results, and of these companies 72.4% have reported earnings above expectations. Also, 11.8% reported earnings in line with expectations and 15.7% reported earnings below estimates, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
Most sectors started the day's session in negative territory after first-time claims for state unemployment benefits last week dropped by only 1,000 individuals to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 claims, the Labor Department said. The prior week's figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000. Experts polled by MarketWatch had forecast new claims falling to 375,000 last week. The rolling four-week average of new claims climbed 6,250 to 381,750, matching its highest level of the year.
Earlier today, the National Association of Realtors said its index of pending sales rose to a 101.4 reading last month from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February. Year-over-year, the March figure marks a 12.8% gain. Sales of existing homes during Q1 were the strongest in five years, and the trade group said the pending home sales data suggests Q2 will be equally good. Analysts in a Thomson Reuters survey were expecting a 1.0% advance following a 0.5% fall in the prior month.
Elsewhere, a national measure of economic activity by the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank slid to a -0.29 reading in March from +0.07 score in February. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the Chicago Fed National Activity Index deteriorated from the prior month, with both the production and income and the personal consumption and housing categories making negative contributions during March. The index's three-month moving average fell to +0.05 last month from a +0.37 reading in February, suggesting growth in national economic activity was near its historical trend, according to the regional central bank.
In company news, InterDigital Communications (IDCC) hit a new 52-week low of $28.29 after reporting Q1 EPS of $0.24, missing estimates for $0.30. Revenue for the quarter dropped 11.7% from last year to $69.3 million, just beating the Street view for $67.48 million.
Shares of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc (WPI) surged following the company's after hours announcement that it will buy privately held Actavis Group for a reported $5.60 billion, extending WPI's international reach and bolstering its ability to compete with rivals Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Novartis' (NVS) Sandoz unit as a leading producer of generic drugs. WPI also agreed to pay up to $330 million more should Actavis hit certain performance targets. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
A declining greenback was good for commodities prices today. The dollar index dipped 0.18%, and oil for June delivery gained 40 cents to $104.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures for June delivery were up $17.70 at $1,660.00 an ounce on the Comex in New York.
(+) EQIX, Q1 EPS beats by $0.20; Guides Q2 revenues above Street view.
(+) SKX, Revenues fall 26.2% to $351.3 million but tops $336.39-million consensus.
(+) DLX, Q1 Profit Tops Estimates.
(-) LEAP, $1.21 a share Q1 net loss wider than $1.01 forecast by analysts.
(-) ITRI, Adjusted EPS of $0.91 trails estimates by $0.02, operating costs rise 6%.
(-) HRB, Cutting 350 jobs, closing 200 company-owned offices in realignment.