Closing Update: Stocks Continue Grind Higher, Carried by Positive Talk in Ukraine, Ignoring Negative Results at Home

U.S. stocks rose Thursday after Russia backed away from its hostile rhetoric against Western powers over events in Ukraine, with investors also looking to positive quarterly results from many companies while underplaying bad news from a pair of sector bellwether companies in Wal-Mart ( WMT ) and Cisco ( CSCO ). Easing tensions in Ukraine also contributed to a decline in crude oil futures, with the front-month September contract settling under $96 per barrel.

As truck convoys purported to be carried aid near Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin helped ease worries over the reginal conflict, saying his country would work to resolve the dispute. Western countries responded tentatively to his conciliatory remarks.

Investors also turned aside a small uptick in first-time unemployment claims, rising to a six-week high during the seven days ended Aug. 9, while looking past weak quarterly results by mega-retailer Wal-Mart (MRT) and tech networking giant Cisco Systems ( CSCO ).

WMT managed to meet Wall Street expectations with its Q2 earnings and revenue but also lowered its outlook for upcoming quarters after same-store sales declined for the seventh quarter in a row.

CSCO declined today after also offering a tepid outlook for the current quarter and announced plans to lay off as many as 6,000 jobs even as revenue beat expectations.

Crude oil for September delivery settled $2.01 lower at $95.58 per barrel while September natural gas was up 8 cents to $3.91 per 1 million BTU. December gold rose 50 cents to $'1,315.20 per ounce while September silver added 6 centys to finish at $19.90 per ounce. September copper slipped 2 cents to $3.09 per pound.

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 61.78 (+0.37%) to 16,713.58

S&P 500 up 8.46 (+0.43%) to 1,955.18

Nasdaq Composite Index up 18.88 (+0.43%) to 4,453.00


Nikkei 225 Index up 0.66%

Hang Seng Index down 0.36%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.74%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.43%


(+) AMOT, Q2 net income rises 229% to $2.69 mln, or $0.29 per share, up from a $819,000 profit last year. Revenue increased 145% year over year to $62.1 mln. No analyst estimates were available for comparison. U.S. sales climb 191% over year-ago levels.

(+) VTNR, Reports net income of $0.28 per share, beating the Capital IQ consensus by $0.20 cents per share. Revenue grows 105.4% over year-ago levels to $72.1 mln, trailing the Street view by around $2 mln.

(+) NLNK, Biotech company says it is ready to begin the initial round of human testing for a prospective Ebola vaccine. "We're getting a lot of assistance from a number of sources to accelerate this," CFO Gordon Link said today.


(-) VPCO, Tumbles to 52-week low after Q1 net loss widens to $1.1 mln, or $0.06 per share, from a $54.650 net loss last year and missing analyst forecasts expecting a break-even quarter. Revenue declined 1.6% to $6.1 mln, missing by $1.9 mln.

(-) EXXI, Fiscal Q4 net loss of $1.82 mln, or $0.06 per share, reverses $62.1 mln profit last year and trails estimates looking for a $0.26 per share gain. Revenue rises 3.1% to $324.1 mln, topping Capital IQ consenus by $3.85 mln.

(-) NDLS, Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.12 trails Street view by $0.03 per share. Revenue rises 11.5% to $99.5 mln, lagging consensus by $3.46 mln. Lowers expected EPS growth to flat from prior guidance of 25%. Analysts looking for 18% growth this year.

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

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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.

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