Wall Street fo­cus turns to earn­ings

Business World - - FRONT PAGE -

US stocks closed higher on Mon­day, with the big­gest boosts from tech­nol­ogy and health care sec­tors as in­vestors were op­ti­mistic about earn­ings sea­son and ap­peared less wor­ried about US-led mis­sile at­tacks in Syria.

NEW YORK — US stocks closed higher on Mon­day, with the big­gest boosts from tech­nol­ogy and health care sec­tors as in­vestors were op­ti­mistic about earn­ings sea­son and ap­peared less wor­ried about US-led mis­sile at­tacks in Syria.

The week­end’s air strikes marked the big­gest in­ter­ven­tion yet by West­ern coun­tries against Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad and his ally Rus­sia, which is fac­ing fur­ther eco­nomic sanc­tions over its role in the con­flict.

Stocks had ended lower on Fri­day on wor­ries about Syria.

‘A LOT OF AN­TIC­I­PA­TION’

But in­vestors seemed less anxious about the po­ten­tial for re­tal­i­a­tion from Rus­sia, an As­sad ally, since there was none at the week­end.

“Geopo­lit­i­cal con­di­tions calmed,” said Tim Ghriskey, Chief In­vest­ment Strate­gist at In­ver­ness Coun­sel in New York.

“There’s a lot of an­tic­i­pa­tion about very strong earn­ings growth in the quar­ter. That may be at­tract­ing traders and even longer-term in­vestors back into the mar­ket.”

Net­flix shares gained around 7% af­ter the mar­ket closed fol­low­ing its quar­terly re­port. Its sub­scriber growth beat an­a­lyst ex­pec­ta­tions. It had ended the reg­u­lar ses­sion down 1.2%.

S& P 500 com­pa­nies are ex­pected to re­port an 18.6% jump in first- quar­ter profit, on av­er­age, the big­gest rise in seven years, ac­cord­ing to Thom­son Reuters data.

BOOST

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age rose 212.9 points or 0.87% to 24,573.04; the S& P 500 gained 21.54 points or 0.81% to 2,677.84; and the Nas­daq Com­pos­ite added 49.64 points or 0.70% to 7,156.29.

The S&P 500’s tech­nol­ogy sec­tor was the big­gest boost to the bench­mark on a weighted ba­sis, with a 0.70% in­crease, fol­lowed by the health care in­dex which rose 0.80%.

Unit­edHealth pro­vided the sec­ond-big­gest boost to the S&P from a sin­gle stock a day ahead of its earn­ings re­port with a 2.7% gain.

Mi­crosoft Corp. was the big­gest pos­i­tive con­trib­u­tor with a 1.2% gain, on a weighted ba­sis.

Merck rose 2.6% af­ter it pre­sented pos­i­tive data on its can­cer drug Keytruda, also boost­ing the S&P health care in­dex.

Shares of op­ti­cal com­po­nents mak­ers, in­clud­ing those of Aca­cia Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Oclaro, took a beat­ing af­ter Reuters re­ported that the US gov­ern­ment was ban­ning Amer­i­can com­pa­nies from sell­ing com­po­nents to Chi­nese tele­com equip­ment maker ZTE Corp. Aca­cia slumped al­most 36%, com­pared with a 15.2% drop for Oclaro.

JB Hunt Trans­port Ser­vices jumped 6.2% af­ter the truck­ing com­pany’s profit topped es­ti­mates.

Bank of Amer­ica rose 0.44% af­ter a big­ger-than-ex­pected in­crease in quar­terly profit.

Ad­vanc­ing is­sues out­num­bered de­clin­ing ones on the NYSE by a 2.70- to-1 ra­tio; on Nas­daq, a 1.82-to-1 ra­tio fa­vored ad­vancers.

The S& P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nas­daq Com­pos­ite recorded 68 new highs and 36 new lows.

On US ex­changes about 5.74 bil­lion shares changed hands, in the low­est vol­ume ses­sion so far this year.

Mon­day’s trad­ing com­pared with the 7.03 bil­lion av­er­age for the last 20 ses­sions. —

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