Dow at nearly 3-year high; gold closes above $1,500
The blues chips have their best close since June 2008. Gold's finish is a record, and silver jumps above $46. General Electric, Verizon and McDonald's results don't impress. Biogen Idec says a multiple-sclerosis drug has promise.
Updated: 5:55 p.m. ET
Stocks finished with modest gains today and for the week as well, though the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) had their best close in almost three years. But gold and silver were the stars of the markets today.
Gold settled up $4.90 at $1,503.80 an ounce, its first close above $1,500. The metal is up 5.8% for the year. Silver settled at $46.059, up $1.60, or 3.6%, and its highest close since 1980. Silver is up 48.8% this year. The dollar finished at its lowest level since December 2009.
The modest gains for stocks came despite Apple's (AAPL)report of a huge earnings gain. General Electric (GE) results were better than expected, and it boosted its dividend to 15 cents a share, up 1 cent. Morgan Stanley (MS) was higher despite a disappointing quarter.
The Dow closed up 52 points to 12,506, its best close since June 5, 2008. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 7 points to 1,337, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) added 18 points to 2,820. Markets will be closed for Good Friday.
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X) was up 20 points to 2,377. The gain was largely due to Apple, up 2.4% to $350.70, good for about 12 points of the the index's gain.
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The major indexes ended higher for the week, with the Dow and S&P 500 up 1.3%, their best weekly gains in four weeks. The Nasdaq's 2% gain was its best performance in five weeks. The Dow is up 8% for the year, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each up 6.3%.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are within 0.5% of their 2011 highs, both set on Feb. 18.
Some worries on the day
Despite the day's gains, there was some crankiness that the market wasn't stronger.
GE was one problem. While earnings were up 77% from a year ago, shares were down 2.2% to $19.95 because investors don't think it's growing fast enough. McDonald's (MCD) was off 1.9% to $76.91 after it warned about higher food costs ahead. And Verizon Communications (VZ) shares were off 2.3% to $36.91 in part because of the costs associated with activating 2.2 million iPhones.
Pfizer (PFE) was the Dow's biggest loser, down 2.9% to $19.79, amid reports that four patients died in a key clinical trial involving its rheumatoid arthritis drug Tofacitinib. Pfizer has viewed the drug as a potential alternative to a drug made by Abbott Laboratories (ABT). Abbott rose 2% to $51.80.
Two more issues: The dollar was a problem today. Plus, the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index, a closely watched economic indicator, suggested a slowdown in U.S. manufacturing, perhaps due to supply problems from the March 11 Japan earthquake.
After the close, shares of chip-maker SanDisk (SNDK) were up 0.1% to $49.05 after first-quarter earnings of $1.03, or $251 million, after one-time charges, up from 95 cents, or $225 million, a year ago. Revenue rose 19% to $1.29 billion. SanDisk shares, up 1.1% to $48.099 in regular trading, are off 1.7% this year but are up 6.3% in April.
|Markets for the week|
|4/21/2011||4/15/2011||% chg.||YTD chg.|
|U.S. Dollar Index||74.18||75.03||-1.13%||-6.44%|
|(per troy ounce)|
Dollar briefly drops to 2008 levels; oil rises
While gold and silver were higher, the U.S. Dollar Index was at 74.18, down 0.387, after dropping to as low as 73.935, the lowest level since August 2008. The index measures the greenback against a basket of currencies. Traders believe the Federal Reserve may be compelled to raise interest rates soon.
Crude oil rose 84 cents to $112.29 a barrel. The national average price of gasoline was $3.84 a gallon, AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge report said. That's up 25% for the year.
Interest rates were flat. The 10-year Treasury yield was 3.4%, unchanged from Wednesday.
GE sees a 6% sales gain; Biogen Idec's big day
Dow component General Electric reported a quarterly profit of 31 cents a share, beating expectations for 28 cents, as sales rose 6% to $38.4 billion. The conglomerate also raised its quarterly dividend by 1 cent to 15 cents.
DuPont (DD) shares were up 1% to $55.91. The chemical-maker surpassed Wall Street's expectations with first-quarter earnings of $1.52 a share on sales of $10.03 billion. Analysts had projected earnings of $1.36 a share on sales of $9.19 billion.
McDonald's topped expectations by a penny with earnings of $1.16 a share and reported sales of $6.11 billion, slightly ahead of the $6 billion that analysts had expected. But the inflation forecast was weighing on shares.
Steel producer Nucor (NUE) earned nearly $160 million, or 50 cents a share. That beat the company's guidance of 30 to 35 cents and the average analyst estimate of 36 cents. Revenue was $4.8 billion, ahead of the Street estimate of $4.5 billion. Shares were down 0.7% to $46.15.
Biogen Idec (BIIB) surged 15.2% to $99.70. The world’s largest maker of multiple-sclerosis medicines reported results from a study of its MS pill BG-12 that exceeded analysts' expectations.
Mattel loses in Bratz copyright case
A federal court jury has rejected Mattel's (MAT) copyright infringement claims involving MGA Entertainment's popular line of Bratz dolls and awarded MGA $88.4 million for misappropriation of its trade secrets by the Barbie maker.
The jury found Thursday that MGA had proven that Mattel acted willfully and maliciously in misappropriating the secrets.
Mattel shares were off 1% to $26.67.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
Travelers leads the Dow
Nineteen of the 30 Dow stocks were higher, led by insurance giant Travelers Companies (TRV), up 3.7% to $61.32. First-quarter earnings of $1.89 a share beat Street estimates by 33 cents.
In addition, 62 Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher, led by Biogen Idec. The laggard was Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA), down 8.5% to $45.01, largely because it has been working on an MS drug as well.
Biogen Idec was also the top S&P 500 stock, followed by Sallie Mae, or more formally known as SLM Corp. (SLM), up 12.8% to $16.31. The company, which finances student loans, said credit quality was improving as it reported a surprisingly strong quarter. Sallie Mae also announced a big share repurchase and declared a dividend for the first time since 2007.
Leaders and laggards in the market
UnitedHealth Group (UNH), up 8.1% to $47.81. The largest U.S. insurer by sales raised its full-year forecast after reporting quarterly profit that beat analyst estimates as enrollment increased and medical spending fell.
Yum Brands (YUM), up 4.1% to $53.65. The owner of KFC and Taco Bell restaurant chains reported first-quarter sales of $2.43 billion, topping the average analyst estimate of $2.39 billion.
Select Comfort (SCSS), up 30.3% to $17.29. The maker of Sleep Number adjustable beds forecast earnings in 2011 of at least 85 cents a share, beating the 71-cent average estimate by analysts. The company and rival Tempur-Pedic (TPX) both noted more demand for mattresses and pillows. Tempur-Pedic was up 2.9% to $61.73.
Plexus (PLXS), up 9.5% to $36.92. The contract electronics manufacturer forecast earnings in the third-quarter to be at least 52 cents a share, topping the average analyst estimate of 48 cents.
E-Trade Financial (ETFC), up 3.5% to $16.47. The online brokerage reported first-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, beating the analyst estimate of 12 cents on average.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), down 3.8% to $277.30. The restaurant chain reported operating margin at the restaurant level in the first quarter was 25.2%, down about 0.9% from a year earlier. Separately, the stock will replace Novell (NOVL) in the S&P 500 on a date in the future, Standard & Poor's said.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Thur.||Wed.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.060%||0.090%||-33.33%||-50.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||2.114%||2.111%||-4.99%||4.86%|
|10-year Treasury note||3.490%||3.400%||-1.56%||2.87%|
|30-year Treasury bond||4.476%||4.454%||-0.71%||2.61%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||74.180||74.567||-2.49%||-6.44%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.603||£0.610||-3.26%||-5.85%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.457||$1.453||2.84%||8.92%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.686||€ 0.688||-2.76%||-8.19%|
|U.S. $ in yen||82.034||82.540||-1.56%||0.82%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.518||6.522||-0.81%||-1.47%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
You've all read the alleged letter from Charlie Reese, of the Orlando Sentinel. 545 vs. 300,000,000 people. "The 545 is 100 senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine supreme court justices, who are directly responsible for the domestic issues that plague this country." And..."It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted - -by present facts - - of incompetence and irresponsibility." That goes for both Democrats and Republicans.
Do your job and bring this nation back to internal prosperity for the American people. I could care less what Wall Street does. It's bells and whistles, smoke and mirrors. Putting people back to work and getting our nations debt down is the key.
Oil futures are bought and sold many times over before it is even pumped out of the ground. This is one of the many ways, we as a consumer, line the pockets of "funds managers" . Oh yes then they start buying and selling this oil as it is making it's way up from the depths of the earth where it was formed because the big money investors say " There might be war in the middle east ". Futures market manipulators' use any scare tactic to buy and sell futures to increase prices to line their own bank account, "ALL IN THE NAME OF FREE MARKETS". Someone has to pay and guess who that someone is ??????
This is not what these markets were meant to be. Why did the FEDS open up pandora's box and let WALL STREET take over the futures markets ????????????????????????
Who is your audience? What do stock markets on Wall Street have to do with the daily lives of 300,000,000 Americans? The only credit I give you, and most media today, is you know how to keep Americans uninformed of reality, and at each others throats. I guess that's called successful propaganda.
'We the People', get your eye back on the ball. It's us against them (the federal Government, Corporate America, and the Elite.).
Reiterative, for sure from me. The 'market' controls' nothing in real life...it has not for year's. It is the biggest 'ponzi' scheme ever perpetuated on the society we used to know as 'middle class'. The dollar is continually being devalued and who can possibly think that 'gold' will be an 'alterior' method as being condidered in Utah. It is just another 'fantasy' that will further continue to 'devaluate the dollar. Simple question...who are you going to see the gold to if you have some @ 1500 an ounce? Answer is... only those that are 'in the know' in manipulation and have the money to trade back and forth and drive up the prices as with the stock market.
Do not be fooled....we are headed down the road to total financial humiliation as we are no longer a 'power' financially as some still may want to think.
Feds shut down online gambling....... Feds bail-out wall street.......
Fed needs to shut down futures markets
dunnunder... I thought we already had a gas czar? or did Obama forget?
i believe he got confused as to what gas he was supposed to be sniffing out!
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the new trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red.
Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change ... More
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