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Stock Market News for April 24, 2014

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Benchmarks ended lower on Wednesday following disappointing corporate results and economic data. AT&T, Amgen and Biogen posted disappointing corporate results. Boeing and Gilead’s better-than-expected quarterly earnings failed to restrict the day’s losses.  Decline in new home sales data also added to the bearish sentiment.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 0.1% to close Wednesday’s trading session at 16,501.65. The Standard & Poor (S&P 500) declined 0.2% to finish at 1,875.39. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.8% to 4,126.97. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) went up 0.6% to settle at 13.27. Total volume for the day was roughly 5.67 billion shares, lower than this month’s average of 6.65 billion. Advancing stocks were outnumbered by declining stocks on the NYSE. For 47% stocks that advanced, 50% declined.
The day’s disappointing corporate results had a negative impact on the broader markets. Shares of AT&T, Inc. (NYSE:T) dropped 3.8% a day after reporting earnings results. The company’s first-quarter 2014 earnings of 71 cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.
Amgen Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMGN)  first quarter 2014 earnings of $1.86 per share was more than the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents, but 4.6% below the year-ago earnings. Also, including one-time items, first quarter earnings were down 26% to $1.40 per share. Shares of Amgen dropped 5.0%.
Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) reported first quarter 2014 earnings per share of $2.45 (including the impact of stock-based compensation expense), missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.58 per share. The company said that first quarter 2014 earnings were impacted by about 35 cents due to its new Alzheimer’s disease collaboration agreement with Eisai. However, shares of Biogen rose 0.2%.
Bio-tech companies Amgen and Biogen Idec’s disappointing first quarter 2014 earnings led to selling pressure in bio-tech stocks. Shares of bio-tech stocks such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) fell 2.0% and 1.2%, respectively.
However, bio-tech company Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) made a strong start to 2014 as earnings outpaced expectations. After market hours on Tuesday, Gilead reported first-quarter 2014 earnings (including stock-based compensation expenses but excluding other special items) of $1.44 per share, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 75 cents per share. Moreover, first quarter 2014 earnings were way above the year-ago figure of 45 cents per share. The massive growth in earnings was attributable to the exceptional performance of Gilead’s newly approved hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug Sovaldi.
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) delivered strong first quarter 2014 results backed by robust deliveries. The aerospace giant reported adjusted first quarter 2014 earnings of $1.76 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well the year-ago adjusted profit of $1.54 by 14.3%. Shares of Boeing increased 2.4%.
After the closing bell, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) reported upbeat quarterly results.
Discouraging new single-family home sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development also weighed on the benchmarks. Sales of new single-family houses decreased 14.5% from February’s revised rate of 449,000 to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 in March. The drop was in contrast to the consensus estimate of a rise to 451,000. Rise in home prices was the reason behind the decrease in sales of new homes.
Five out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the red. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSE:XHB) led the decline among the S&P 500 sectors. The sector fell 1.4%. Key housing stocks from the sector such as PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN), DR Horton Inc. (NYSE:DHI) and Beazer Homes USA Inc. (NYSE:BZH) fell 0.5%, 0.6%, 2.2% and 0.9%, respectively.

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