Closing Update: Stocks Finish Mostly Higher; Consumer, Energy Stocks Lead Gains While Internet Shares Sputter

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Stocks closed mostly higher, with blue chips and the broader S&P 500 index posting moderate gains Wednesday following another batch of mostly positive corporate earning offset by a steep drop in worker productivity during the first three months of 2014. Shares of consumer staple companies posted some of the day's best gains, followed closely by energy and industry stocks. But technology stocks struggled - in particular, internet stocks - dragging the Nasdaq Composite index lower for a second day in a row.

Nonfarm business labor productivity fell a larger-than-expected 1.7% during Q1, the Labor Department said today, reversing an upwardly revised 2.3% gain over the final three months of 2013. The market consensus was expecting a 1.2% decline, marking the first drop in productivity in four quarters.

In remarks before a joint House-Senate committee today, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told congress members the U.S. economy continues to improve although job growth remains stubbornly subpar. "With the harsh winter behind us, many recent indicators suggest that a rebound in spending and production is already under way," Yellen said, noting the overall economy was on track for "solid growth in the current quarter."

Yellen also she expects interest rates to remain near record lows.

Crude oil for June delivery settled $1.27 higher at $100.77 per barrel, rising sharply after new weekly data showed a surprise decline in inventories during the week ended May 2. June natural gas fell 6 cents to finish at $4.74 per 1 million BTU. June gold declined 19.40 to $1,288.90 per ounce while July silver slid 30 cents to finish at $19.34 per ounce. July copper lost 3 cents to settle at $3.03 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 117.52 (+0.72%) to 16,518.54

S&P 500 up 10.49 (+0.56%) to 1,878.21

Nasdaq Composite Index down 13.09 (-0.32%) to 4,067.67

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index down 1.05%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.89%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.03%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) EA, Non-GAAP revenue falls 7% from year-ago levels to $914 mln, still topping consensus by $101.6 mln. Adjusted net income of $0.48 per share beats by $0.37. OKs $750 mln stock buyback program.

(+) QTWW, Alternative-fuels company forms long-term partnership with Ryder ( R ) to develop a fleet of compressed natural gas-powered trucks. The companies also plan to work together on improving fuel system designs in the future.

(+) GCA, Q1 cash earnings of $0.22 per share beat by $0.01. Revenue rises 2.6% year over year to $150.6 mln, topping Street by $480,000. FY14 EPS guidance expecting $0.87 to $0.91 exceeds consensus view by at least $0.05 per share.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) END, Adjusted net loss during three months ended March 31 widens compared to year-ago levels. Also warns production during the current quarter could trail Q1 levels following unexpected shutdown at one of its North Sea platforms last month.

(-) WFM, (-19.07%) Q2 EPS of $0.38 misses by $0.03 per share. Revenue climbs 9.7% to $3.32 bln, matching estimates. Lowers FY14 earnings, revenue forecasts, trailing consensus views by at least $0.05 per share and $20 mln, respectively.

(-) DTLK, Q1 net income of $0.06 per share, ex items, trails Street view by $0.11. Revenue rises 4.5% year over year to $139.5 mln, lagging estimates by $15.46 mln. Q2 EPS, revenue guidance miss by $0.08 and $12.32 mln, respectively.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: R

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