S&P, NASDAQ edge higher on earnings

NO EXTREME CONCERN::Investors expect the risk of another round of tariff hikes, but that risk would be overridden by some type of agreement, a strategist said

Reuters, NEW YORK

Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 5

The benchmark S&P 500 index and the NASDAQ Composite on Friday edged upward to snap a two-day losing streak as positive corporate results offset lingering skepticism over the US and China reaching a trade deal before the March 1 deadline.

Shares of Coty Inc, Mattel Inc and Motorola Solutions Inc jumped after the companies reported better-than-expected quarterly results.

In addition, shares of Electronic Arts Inc, which plunged on Wednesday after the company’s quarterly results, surged after the videogame publisher said that its game Apex Legends had attracted 10 million players in three days.

Electronic Arts and Motorola Solutions were among the top boosts to the S&P 500.

Earlier, US stocks dragged as trade concerns continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he did not plan to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) before the deadline set for reaching an agreement.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin are to travel to Beijing for principal-level meetings on Thursday and Friday, the White House said in a statement.

As Friday’s session wore on, Wall Street’s major indices regained lost ground.

“What’s expected, based on the way the market has performed, is that there is a risk that we’ll see another round of tariff-hiking, but that risk will be overridden by some type of agreement,” said John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management in New York.

“These are not indices that are showing extreme investor concern at this point,” he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 63.2 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,106.33, the S&P 500 gained 1.83 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,707.88 and the NASDAQ Composite added 9.85 points, or 0.14 percent, to 7,298.20.

For the week, the Dow added 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 rose 0.05 percent, and the NASDAQ gained 0.47 percent.

The S&P 500 has risen more than 15 percent from 20-month lows in December last year, spurred by a dovish US Federal Reserve and largely positive fourth-quarter earnings, as well as hopes for an eventual US-China trade deal.

Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results, 71.5 percent have beaten profit estimates, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

However, analysts expect profit this quarter to dip 0.1 percent from the year before, not grow the 5.3 percent estimated at the start of the year.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a 1.15-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 35 new highs and 37 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 6.83 billion shares, compared with the 7.46 billion average over the past 20 trading days.