By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, April 18 () - Industrials led the S&P 500 and the Dow moderately higher on Thursday after robust U.S. economic data and some healthy corporate earnings reports.
All three major U.S. stock indexes closed in positive territory heading into the three-day weekend.
"It's been kind of an anemic market over the last few weeks," said Matthew Keator, managing partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts. "There's concern that the majority of the returns in 2019 were front-end loaded."
With reporting season in full swing, January-March S&P 500 profits are expected to have dropped 1.7% year-on-year, which would mark the first decline in quarterly earnings since 2016.
Of the 77 S&P 500 companies that have released results thus far, 77.9% have beaten consensus, compared with the 65% average beat rate going back to 1994.
"Expectations were so low going into the quarter, there's been some nice surprises," Keator added.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, seven closed in the black.
U.S. stock markets will be closed on Good Friday.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.07-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.05-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 44 new highs and 77 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.79 billion shares, in line with the average over the last 20 trading days.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.