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Stock Market News for April 16, 2014

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Benchmarks finished in the green on Tuesday after blue-chip companies Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson reported upbeat quarterly results. Investors also remained focused on the recent developments in Ukraine. The day’s mixed economic data on urban consumer prices in March and a survey on manufacturing conditions for New York manufacturers in April had little impact on the benchmarks.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.6% to close Tuesday’s trading session at 16,262.56. The Standard & Poor (S&P 500) rose 0.7% to finish at 1,842.98. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index went up 0.3% to 4,034.16. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 3.1% to settle at 15.61. Total volume for the day was roughly 7.6 billion shares, higher than this month’s average of 6.9 billion. Declining stocks were outnumbered by advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 37% stocks that declined, 59% advanced.
The Coca-Cola Company’s (NYSE:KO) better-than-expected quarterly revenues had a positive impact on the broader markets. The beverage company started 2014 on a positive note, as its first quarter top line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings were in line with estimates. In the first quarter, net revenue declined 4% year over year to $10.58 billion. However, revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $10.56 billion helped by better pricing and volume growth in key emerging markets.
Volumes in countries such as China, India, Russia and Brazil rose 12%, 6%, 6% and 4%, respectively. The first-quarter 2014 adjusted earnings of this beverage company were 44 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Shares of Coca-Cola surged 3.7%. Overall, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) rose 0.3%.
Also, Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) better-than-expected quarterly earnings contributed to the bullish mood. The health care company’s first-quarter 2014 earnings (excluding special items) were $1.54 per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.48 per share and 6.9% above the year-ago earnings of $1.44 per share. Shares of the health care company rose 2.1%. Overall, the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) rose 1.1%.
Investors kept a close eye on the recent updates from Ukraine. In Kramatorsk, Ukrainian forces stormed an airport held by pro-Russian militants. Also, Ukraine forces countered militants in the eastern Donetsk region. The U.S. has supported Ukraine on its mission to uproot pro-Russian militants occupying government buildings.

On the economic front the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) improved 0.2% in March. The increase was more than the consensus estimate of a rise by 0.1%. The rise in food prices by 0.4% and the rise in housing costs by 0.3% were cited to be the reasons behind the increase in consumer prices.
Separately, the April 2014 Empire State Manufacturing Survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicated that manufacturing conditions was flat for New York manufacturers. The Empire State Index fell to 1.3 in April from 5.6 in March. This fall was in contrast to the consensus estimate of a rise to 8.1. The report shows that the general business conditions index fell four points to 1.3. The new orders index entered the negative territory and the shipments index was at 3.2.
Nine out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 sectors ended in the green. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) led the advance as the sector rose 1.4%. Top holdings from the sector such as Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), Southern Company (NYSE:SO) and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) gained 1.0%, 1.2%, 0.5%, 1.3% and 2.0%, respectively.
The Energy sector followed the Utilities sector. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) increased 1.3%. Key stocks from the sector such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:SLB), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY) and EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE:EOG) rose 0.8%, 1.4%, 1.7%, 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively.

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