Markets closed in the green on Friday as earnings season for the first quarter of 2019 kickstarted with JPMorgan reporting better-than-expected results. This development boosted the overall confidence in the U.S. economy. Investors also cheered comments from JPMorgan’s CEO that the U.S. economy was growing despite trade tensions. The three major benchmarks ended in the positive territory.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 1%, to close at 26,412.30. The S&P 500 increased 0.7% to close at 2,907.41. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7,984.16, gaining 0.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 5.1% to close at 12.36. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.87-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.38-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.
JPMorgan Buoys Gains for Dow
The Dow amassed 166.5 points to close in the green. Gains for the 30-stock index were propelled by a 4.7% rally in shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPM. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Higher rates and improved investment banking performance drove JPMorgan’s first-quarter 2019 earnings of $2.65 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.32. Also, the figure was up 12% from the prior-year quarter. (Read More)
Strong earnings performance by America’s biggest bank by assets, boosted confidence in the overall U.S. economy. Further, JPMorgan’s Chief Executive James Dimon stated that the U.S. economy continued to grow “amid some global geopolitical uncertainty.”
He also stated that employment in the country has been increasingly steadily and wages have also been rising. Such encouraging comments from Dimon boosted market sentiment.
How Did Other Benchmarks Perform?
The S&P 500 rose 19.1 points to end in the green. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, 10 ended in positive territory, with financials leading the advancers. The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) increased 1.8% on Friday.
The broader index breached the 2,900 level for the first time in the last six months and closed at less than 1% from a record level. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq increased 36.8 points to close in positive territory.
The broader markets were also boosted by healthy March trade data from China. Per the latest report, China’s exports increased 14.2% from the same time last year, against an expected rise of 8.7%.
On the economic data front, the U.S. import price index rose 0.6% in March, following a revised increase of 1% in February. Such an increase was achieved on the back of higher oil and fuel prices.
Meanwhile, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index declined to 96.9 in April, below the consensus estimate of 97.5.
For the week, while the Dow declined 0.1%, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq increased 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively. Escalating trade tensions between the United States and European Union weighed on U.S. stocks. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced global growth forecast for 2019.
However, positive developments on trade war front lifted investors’ sentiment. Meanwhile, Fed reaffirmed its dovish monetary stance in the minutes of its latest meeting.
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