Stock market logs solid gains as earnings season moves hits stride

U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday as investors welcomed on a deluge of stronger-than-expected corporate earnings reports and economic data.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.78%  gained 14 points, or 0.6%, to 2,352, with seven of the 11 main sectors trading higher. Industrials, materials energy and financials led the gainers, up about 1%.

The Dow industrials DJIA, +0.85%  gained 160 points, or 0.8%, to 20,455, recovering its losses form the previous session. American Express Co AXP, +5.41%  was the top gainer among blue-chips, up more than 5%, following earnings.

The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.92%  rose 46 points, or 0.8%, to 5,909, trading within five points from its record close set on March 30.

“There is a lot of good news when it comes to earnings and economic data and not only in the U.S. but overseas as well,” said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial.

“It’s almost as if investors are realizing that a selloff yesterday because of a drop in oil was not warranted,” Cavanaugh said.

West Texas Intermediate crude CLK7, -0.20%  futures for May, staged a rebound from Wednesday’s slump, to trade at $50.48 a barrel. Futures suffered their largest decline in weeks on Wednesday after a surprise climb in U.S. gasoline supplies.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is likely to reach a deal to extend the group’s production cuts into the latter half of 2017.

“Investors are paying too much attention to OPEC, but it’s really the U.S. that is driving the supply glut with its shale production. We expect the oil price to continue to fluctuate within $45-$50 a barrel,” said Cavanaugh.

The moves on Wall Street follow an oil-induced slump on Wednesday, though volatile crude-oil futures limited gains.

Economic front: “The trend of the market is down and is not likely to reverse until clarity of the underlying fear factors are put to rest,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist for First Standard Financial, in a note, referencing investor jitters over the impending French election, and tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Initial jobless claims rose by 10,000 to a still-low 244,000 in mid-April. Meanwhile, the number of out-of-work people collecting unemployment checks fell to a 17-year low last week, underscoring the strongest U.S. labor market in years.

The manufacturing index from the Philadelphia Fed slid in April, but from high levels, suggesting slower growth in the factory sector after a postelection surge.

Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell, speaking about capital markets and the economy, said now was a good time to review the raft of banking regulations put in place since the financial crisis.

Earnings roll out: Shares of Philip Morris International Inc. PM, -4.19%  fell more than 3% after the company fell short of earnings and first-quarter profit expectations.

Foot Locker Inc. FL, +5.37%  shares initially fell but rebounded to trade 5.4% higher even after the athletic apparel group issued a profit warning.

Blackstone Group L.P. BX, +1.29%  reported profit that nearly tripled, but missed expectations. Still, shares were up nearly 1.7%.

Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, -0.96%  shares fell over 1% after the telecom company reported first-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street expectations.

EBay Inc. EBAY, -2.89%  shares dropped 2.8% after earnings.

Qualcomm Inc. QCOM, -0.52%  shares were down 0.4% even after the chip designer beat earnings expectations.

Visa Inc. V, +1.71%  and Mattel Inc. MAT, +0.69%  are due to report after the close.

Other markets: The Nikkei 225 Index NIK, -0.01%  rose for a fourth straight session, leading a recovery for Asia markets ADOW, +0.47% European stocks SXXP, +0.22%  were marginally higher, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.06% drifted south.

However, the French CAC 40 index PX1, +1.48%  rallied 1% after a Harris Interactive poll signaled a win for centrist Emmanuel Macron in Sunday’s first-round presidential election. The euro EURUSD, +0.2334% shot to a three-week high against the dollar of $1.0778.

Read: Here’s how France’s hotly contested election could spark market turmoil

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched 1 basis point higher to 2.23%. Gold prices GCM7, -0.03%  were little changed.


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