Major indices finished in the green riding on investors’ expectations of good quarterly earnings. Investors expect good earnings in spite of poor economic data released recently and concerns over international issues. All the top ten S&P 500 industry groups finished in the green among which, consumer discretionary stocks gained the most.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.3% to close the day at 14,613.48. The S&P 500 gained 0.6% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,563.07. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.6% to end at 3,222.25. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) lost almost 5.2% to settle at 13.19. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 5.11 billion shares, well below 2012’s average of 6.48 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners. For the 66% that advanced, 31% declined.
The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 have gained 11.5% and 9.6%, respectively. While the Dow closed Monday’s trading on a session high, the Nasdaq closed just below its intraday high. Benchmarks started yesterday’s session in the red following weak employment numbers sparking fresh concerns over economic growth. However, investor sentiment gained optimism as the earnings week started. Positive investor sentiment helped benchmarks shrug off early losses and enter positive territory.
Last week, benchmarks hit a bump following weak economic numbers and concerns over a few international factors. Recent payrolls numbers came in at just 88,000 in comparison with the consensus estimate of 198,000. However, the unemployment rate improved 0.1% to 7.6%. Employment numbers from private companies were also recorded below the consensus estimate. Investors were also concerned over tensions brewing between North Korea and South Korea.
On the international front, Portugal will implement spending cuts on health, education and welfare in order to avoid a second bailout. However, there would not be any rise in tax rates from the current levels. Portugal has already received a bailout of 78 billion Euros and these steps were taken in order to keep the bailout on track. According to the Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho, the country will take any step to avoid a second bailout and suffer the fate which Greece faced during last year.
Meanwhile, in a move aimed at easing the tary pressure in Japan, the Bank of Japan started the purchase of 1.4 trillion Yen worth of bonds. These purchases will be made within two years. One trillion Yen (approximately $10 billion) worth of government bonds will be purchased with maturities between five years and ten years while 200 billion worth of bonds will be purchased with a maturity period of more than ten years.
Of the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, consumer discretionary stocks gained the most. The Consumer Discretionary SPDR (XLY) gained 1.1%. Stocks such as Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), the Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) gained 0.2%, 1.7%, 1.2%, 0.1% and 1.4%, respectively.
Consumer staples stocks also had a good run yesterday. The Consumer Staples Select Sect. SPDR (XLP) gained 1.1%. Stocks such as the Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG), the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE:CVS) gained 0.7%, 2.0%, 1.9%, 1.2% and 1.4%, respectively.
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