Stock Market News for April 22, 2014 - Market News

By Zacks Equity Research,

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Benchmarks ended in the green zone yesterday as investors were encouraged by better-than-expected corporate earnings results. Halliburton, Hasbro, Kimberly-Clark and SunTrust Banks reported upbeat quarterly results. Also, an increase in Conference Board's leading economic index somewhat added to the bullish mood. The S&P rose for five straight sessions, its longest winning streak since October 2013.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.3% to close Monday's trading session at 16,449.25. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) rose 0.4% to finish at 1,871.89. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index went up 0.6% to 4,121.55.  The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 0.8% to settle at 13.25. Total volume for the day was roughly 4.34 billion shares, lower than this month's average of 6.83 billion. Declining stocks were outnumbered by advancing stocks on the NYSE. For 37% stocks that declined, 59% advanced.

The day's upbeat quarterly results had a positive impact on the broader markets. Major oilfield services provider Halliburton Company (NYSE: HAL ) reported earnings per share from continuing operations of 73 cents, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents. The figure also surpassed the first-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 67 cents. Improved simulation work in the U.S. and increase in profits from its pressure pumping business in Argentina were cited to be the reasons behind the strong first-quarter 2014 results.

Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS ) posted first quarter 2014 adjusted earnings per share of 14 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 11 cents by 27.2%. The adjusted earnings per share were also up 180.0% from 5 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Hasbro's net revenue of $679.0 million increased 2.4% year over year. Also, decline in expenses and lower share count contributed to the increase in earnings per share.

SunTrust Banks, Inc.'s (NYSE: STI ) first-quarter 2014 earnings per share of 73 cents outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 67 cents on the back of lower provisions and prudent expense management.

Consumer products giant Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB ) posted adjusted earnings of $1.48 per share in the first quarter of 2014. Earnings were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago figure. Growth in organic sales, cost savings and lower selling & administration expenses boosted earnings. Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX ) also reported upbeat results after the closing bell.

Shares of Halliburton, Hasbro and SunTrust Banks increased 3.3%, 1.9% and 1.5%, respectively. However, shares of Kimberly-Clark slipped 1.4%.

Investors also welcomed promising economic numbers. The Conference Board's leading economic index increased 0.8% in March after it gained 0.5% in February. The rise was also more than the consensus expectation of a 0.6% increase. This indicated that growth in economic activities could accelerate in the coming months.

Striking a positive note, Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board, said: "The economy is rebounding from widespread inclement weather and the strengthening in the labor market is beginning to have a positive impact on growth. Overall, this is an optimistic report, but the focus will continue to be on whether improvements in the labor market can be sustained, fueling stronger economic performance over the next few months".

Investors also remained focused on the upcoming earnings results. This week, blue-chip companies such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT ), The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA ) and Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT ) as well as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ) are expected to report their earnings results.

Eight out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the green. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) led the advance as the sector rose 1.2%. Top holdings from the sector such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE ), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK ), Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD ) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN ) increased 1.1%, 2.0%, 1.4%, 2.3% and 1.4%, respectively.

The Energy sector followed the Health Care sector. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) rose 0.7%. Key stocks from the sector such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM ), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX ), Schlumberger Limited (NYSE: SLB ), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE: OXY ) and EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE: EOG ) increased 0.5%, 0.5%, 1.9%, 0.9% and 1.1%, respectively.

APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report

AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis Report

BOEING CO (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report

CATERPILLAR INC (CAT): Free Stock Analysis Report

GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis Report

HALLIBURTON CO (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report

HASBRO INC (HAS): Free Stock Analysis Report

JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report

KIMBERLY CLARK (KMB): Free Stock Analysis Report

MERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report

MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

NETFLIX INC (NFLX): Free Stock Analysis Report

PFIZER INC (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report

SUNTRUST BKS (STI): Free Stock Analysis Report

EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

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

This article appears in: Investing US Markets
Referenced Stocks: XLV , XLE , AAPL , AMGN , BA

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