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Stock Market News for Jan 21, 2020

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Last week (ended Jan 17) was a fabulous one for Wall Street. All three major stock indexes gained significantly in the last week. Signing of an interim trade deal between the United States and China and strong economic data strengthened investors’ confidence in risky assets like equities. Markets remained closed on Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Wall Street is Firing on all Cylinders

On Jan 17, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite closed at 29,348.10, 3,329.62 and 9,388.94. Al three indexes achieved fresh all-time highs. Notably, in the first 12 trading days of this year, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite scored fresh closing highs half of the time. During these days, the Dow, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite surpassed the respective key technical barriers of 29,000, 3,300 and 9,000.

For the week ended Jan 17, all three major indexes posted their largest percentage gains since the week ended Aug 30, 2018. The Dow finished in the positive territory in five of the past six weeks, the S&P 500 ended in the green for two successive weeks and the Nasdaq Composite maintained its winning streak for six straight weeks.

Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Season Commences

Expectations for fourth-quarter 2019 earnings are far from encouraging at present. However, although corporate earnings growth was negative year over year in the first three quarters, results were far better than initially anticipated.

Total earnings of the S&P 500 Index are anticipated to be down 3.2% from the same period last year on 3.5% higher revenues. As of Jan 20, just 44 S&P 500 members reported fourth-quarter earnings results.

Total earnings of these companies are down 3.8% from the same period last year on 3.9% higher revenues. Of the total, 75% surpassed EPS estimates while 70.5% outpaced revenue estimates. (Read More: Are Earnings Reports Just OK, or Better than Expected?)

Kansas City Southern’s KSU fourth-quarter 2019 earnings (excluding $0.52 from non-recurring items) of $1.82 beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.Quarterly revenues of $729.5 million fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $738.3 million. (Read More)

J.B. Hunt Transport ServicesInc.’s (JBHT - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $1.35 per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.52. Total operating revenues of $2,450.3 million also lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,454.2 million. (Read More)

Consequently, shares of Kansas City Southern advanced 3% while shares of J.B. Hunt Transport Services plummeted 4.2%. Both stocks carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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