US Stocks May Record New Highs on Earnings Optimism

January 16, 2018
US Stocks report

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Tuesday, with stocks poised to climb to new record highs.

Better than expected quarterly results from Dow components Citigroup (C) and UnitedHealth (UNH) have added to optimism about the earnings season.

After showing a strong move to the upside in morning trading on Friday, stocks remained firmly positive throughout the afternoon. With the upward move, the major averages once again climbed to new record closing highs.

The major averages ended the day just off their highs of the session. The Dow advanced 228.46 points or 0.9 percent to 25,803.19, the Nasdaq climbed 49.28 points or 0.7 percent to 7,261.06 and the S&P 500 rose 18.68 points or 0.7 percent to 2,786.24.

For the week, the Dow surged up by 2 percent, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 jumped by 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

The continued strength on Wall Street partly reflected optimism about the earnings season after financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM), BlackRock (BLK) and Wells Fargo (WFC) all reported better than expected quarterly results.

JPMorgan and BlackRock moved notably higher after reporting results that beat estimates, although Wells Fargo moved to the downside.

Traders were also digesting some closely watched economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing retail sales rose in line with economist estimates in the month of December.

The Commerce Department said retail sales increased by 0.4 percent in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in November.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding auto sales, retail sales still rose by 0.4 percent in December after jumping by 1.3 percent in November. The increase in ex-auto sales also matched estimates.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed consumer prices rose by less than expected in December, reflecting a sharp pullback in energy prices.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in December after climbing by 0.4 in November. Economists had expected prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, increased by 0.3 percent in December after ticking up by 0.1 percent in November. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

Gold stocks showed a significant move to the upside on the day, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surging up by 3 percent. The index reached its best closing level in three months. The strength among gold stocks came amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal.

Airline stocks also extended the substantial upward move seen over the two previous sessions, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 1.7 percent. With the jump, the index reached its best closing level in over sixteen years.

Significant strength was also visible among retail stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent advance by the Dow Jones Retail Index. The index climbed to a record closing high.

The gains by retail stocks came following the retail sales data as well as a report from the National Retail Federation showing stronger than expected holiday sales growth.

Software, brokerage, and computer hardware stocks also saw notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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