December 20, 2014
Data, earnings lift Wall Street; conflicts eyed
US stocks rose today as some positive earnings and economic data pointed to a market that still had room to rise despite the S&P 500 hitting an intraday record.
Investors continued to pay close attention to unstable regions abroad, and while violence persisted in the Gaza Strip, hopes rose for an easing of tension in Ukraine.
Verizon Communications Inc rose 0.6 percent to $50.98 after the company reported revenue that topped expectations. Chipotle Mexican Grill was the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer, up 11.8 percent at $659.77 a day after the burrito chain reported a steep jump in profit.
Netflix Inc, one of the market's biggest trading favorites over the past few years, reported a quarterly profit that more than doubled on Monday after the market closed. However, on Tuesday, Netflix shares fell 4.6 percent to $431.09 as the company's plans to expand in Europe were seen as eroding profits.
With 23 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported results, 66.1 percent posted earnings that topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent. More than 64 percent have beaten revenue forecasts, above the long-term average of 61 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 61.81 points or 0.36 percent, to end at 17,113.54. The S&P 500 gained 9.90 points or 0.50 percent, to 1,983.53. The Nasdaq Composite added 31.31 points or 0.71 percent, to 4,456.02.
The S&P 500 hit an intraday record high just above 1,986, the latest in a series of such records. Equities have been strong in 2014, with July on track to be the S&P 500's sixth straight monthly advance.
European shares bounced back on some strong earnings reports and after signs of cooperation between Russia and other nations in investigating the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine.
The handover of flight MH17's black boxes and reports by international investigators of improved access to its wreckage came as EU foreign ministers threatened Russia with harsher sanctions for its support of separatists in the area. However, France's president signalled the disputed delivery of a warship to Moscow would go ahead.The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 1.3 percent stronger at 1,373.75 points after falling 0.5 percent in the previous session.
Earlier, Japan's Nikkei share average rose as investors returned from a three-day weekend, with exporters pulling ahead as the strong yen trend paused even as geopolitical concerns lingered.
The Nikkei gained 0.8 percent to 15,343.28. On Friday, the index fell 1.0 percent to its lowest closing level since July 11 as investors fled riskier assets on news about the downing of the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet near tthe Ukraine-Russia border. The broader Topix climbed 0.8 percent to 1,273.27, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.7 percent to 11,593.84.