Saturday, April 20, 2024

Stocks rise early as GM, others report strong earnings

by BIZ Magazine

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising on Wall Street. boosted by a rebound in technology companies and a number of strong earnings reports. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% early Wednesday, a day after dropping 0.7%. Shares of General Motors rose 4% after the automaker earned nearly $3 billion in the first quarter. Video game maker Activision and apparel company Under Armour also rose after reporting better-than-expected results. Bond yields pulled back after payroll processor ADP reported jobs growth below economists’ expectations. That helped to ease inflation worries and gave a boost to technology stocks. Shares of communications and consumer-focused companies also were among the early gainers.

Global stock markets were mixed Wednesday in light trading while China and Japan were closed for holidays.

London and Frankfurt opened higher while Sydney also rose. Hong Kong and Southeast Asian markets declined.

Wall Street futures were higher after the benchmark S&P 500 index lost 0.7% on Tuesday, dragged down by more declines for tech stocks including Apple and Microsoft.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London advanced 1.2% to 7,007.14 while the DAX in Frankfurt rose 1.4% to 15,065.04. The CAC 40 in France was 1% higher at 6,314.31.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 future was up 0.4% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.3% higher.

On Tuesday, the S&P 500 fell further after hitting a high last Thursday.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.9%. Apple fell 3.5% and Facebook slid 1.3%. Google’s parent company, Alphabet, dropped 1.5% and Amazon lost 2.2%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1% to 34,133.03.

In Asia, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.5% to 28,417.98 while the S&P-ASX 200 in Sydney rose 0.4% to 7,095.80.

India’s Sensex advanced 0.9% to 48,682.38. New Zealand’s benchmark lost 0.5%, Singapore shed 0.8% and Bangkok tumbled 2%.

“With relatively light newsflow and macro data, price action in the region was subdued in holiday-thinned conditions,” Anderson Alves of ActivTrades said in a report.

Investors are watching corporate earnings and looking ahead to Friday’s U.S. jobs data.

Most economic indicators point to improving conditions, but investors are worried about renewed coronavirus outbreaks and a possible uptick in inflation.

Remarks by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appeared to stoke those worries. Selling on Wall Street accelerated after Yellen said interest rates may have to rise to keep the economy from overheating. She later downplayed her comments during an interview with The Wall Street Journal after markets closed.

Earlier, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Monday the economic outlook has “clearly brightened” in the United States but the recovery is uneven.

More than half the companies in the S&P 500 have reported results this earnings season, which show profit growth of 54%, according to FactSet.

Economists expect U.S. data due out Friday to show employers hired 975,000 workers last month as the economy accelerated out of the pandemic and vaccines rolled out nationwide. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 5.8% from 6%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained 55 cents to $66.24 per barrel. The contract rose $1.20 on Tuesday to $65.69 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 59 cents to $69.47 per barrel in London. It advanced $1.32 cents the previous session to $68.88 a barrel.

The dollar rose rose to 109.39 yen from Tuesday’s 109.30 yen. The euro rose to $1.2013 from $1.2009.

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