Stocks Start Week Upbeat - TheStreet

Stocks Start Week Upbeat

Stocks were solidly higher Monday, helped by strength in financials following Citigroup's report and fervor for tech stocks. Apple beats earnings estimates. Gregg Greenberg has The Real Story.
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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) -- Stocks rose Monday as better-than-expected earnings from

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

drove financials higher and investors eagerly anticipated results from key tech companies.

The

Dow Jones Industrial Average

added 80 points, or 0.7%, to 11,143. The

S&P 500

gained 8 points, 0.7%, to 1,184, while the

Nasdaq

pushed into the positive territory after beginning weak, adding 11 points, or 0.5%, to close at 2,480.

Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

managed to beat the market's high expectations, reporting a profit of $4.64 per share on revenues of $20.34 billion after the closing bell. The average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

was for a profit of $4.08 per share on revenue of $18.93 billion. The stock was losing 0.5% in extended trading to $316.49.

Also,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

said after the closing bell that its profits rose 12% to $3.59 billion or $2.82 per share on revenues of $24.27 billion, beating analyst estimates on revenues and earnings. Shares of Big Blue were down 2.8% to $138.91 in extended trading.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

kicked off a heavy earnings week Monday morning, beating expectations by 2 cents. The stock of Citigroup soared 5.6% to $4.17.

Bank of America

(BAC) - Get Report

, which will be reporting before the bell on Tuesday,

announced Monday afternoon that it plans to resume foreclosures in 23 states by Oct.25, abating concerns on the foreclosure problem. The stock shot up 3% to $12.34.

"The major news is earnings and will be for the next couple of weeks," said Jay Suskind, senior vice president at Duncan Williams. "So far, you've set a pretty good tone on earnings with

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

and the perception on Citigroup appears to be positive, but we're getting into the meat of earnings this week," he said, adding that we could begin to see some profit-taking.

"There seems to be a general sense to buy this market, even hesitantly, whether that's because of QE2 or because things aren't as bad as people previously thought or because there are elections coming up. The market just keeps chugging higher. I think it's on pretty good footing both from a technical and a fundamental standpoint," Suskind said.

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

,

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and Bank of America led the Dow higher, while

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

were the session's laggards.

In other earnings news,

Halliburton

(HAL) - Get Report

said net earnings doubled in the third quarter to $544 million, or 60 cents a share. Quarterly profits included a non-recurring charge of 5 cents a share and a tax-related gain of 7 cents a share. The consensus estimate called for 56 cents a share, according to Briefing.com. Shares were down 4.8% to $34.09.

Shares of

Hasbro

(HAS) - Get Report

rose 3.8% to $46.81 as the company reported net earnings of 99 cents a share on sales of $1.31 billion. Analysts had been looking for earnings of $1.04 a share on sales of $1.29 billion.

Shares of

McMoRan Exploration

(MMR)

shed 13% to $16.02 after it said it cuts its losses by half in the September quarter but still fell short of revenue expectations.

In economic news,

Industrial production slipped 0.2% in September after increasing by 0.2% in August. The decline disappointed market expectations for growth of 0.3%. Meanwhile, capacity utilization dipped to 74.7%, from 74.8%. Economists had projected utilization to hit 75% in September, from 74.7% in August.

The

National Association of Home Builders' index of builder sentiment rose to 16 in October, surpassing economists' expectations for the reading to remain unchanged from September's level of 13.

Homebuilder stocks were mixed following the better sentiment data. The

SPDR Homebuilders Index

(XHB) - Get Report

was down 0.4%.

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

fell 1.1% while

Pulte Homes

(PHM) - Get Report

gained 3%.

In equities news,

St. Jude Medical

(STJ)

said it will acquire all outstanding shares of

AGA Medical Holdings

(AGAM)

for $20.80 a share. St. Jude rose 1.8% to $40.63 while AGA's stock soared 40.7% to $20.70.

Northeast Utilities

(NU)

and

NStar

(NST)

agreed to merge in a transaction with a total equity value of $9.5 billion and an enterprise value of $17.5 billion. Northeast shares were down by 0.9% to $30.42 and NStar's stock fell 0.6% to $39.30.

Shares of

Allergan

(AGN) - Get Report

rose 5.4% to $72.61 after Goldman Sachs raised its price target to $84 and also increased its estimates, citing early Food and Drug Administration approval for Botox to treat migraines.

Starbucks

(SBUX) - Get Report

is looking to boost its happy hour traffic as it begins to offer beer and wine at certain test locations. The stock dipped 0.7% to $27.35.

BP

(BP) - Get Report

agreed to sell its upstream business in Venezuela and Vietnam to its Russian joint venture TNK-BP for $1.8 billion. The stock rose 2.1% to $41.49.

Philips Electronics

(PHG) - Get Report

said net earnings rose to €524 million ($725.3 million) in the third quarter from €174 million previously, but warned that it was "cautious" on its sales outlook for the coming quarter. Shares of Philips lost 5.4% to $31.71.

Japanese electronics company

Hitachi

(HIT)

and

Johnson Controls

(JCI) - Get Report

reached a deal to develop and make lithium-ion batteries for green vehicles. Hitachi's stock was flat at $43.33, and Johnson Controls was slightly higher at $32.76.

In commodity markets, the most actively traded December crude oil contract added $1.83 to trade at $83.08 a barrel, while the December

gold contract settled more or less unchanged at $1,371.2 an ounce.

Meanwhile, the dollar was trading slightly lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.04%, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 15/32, weakening the yield to 2.513%.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.2%, and Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.02%. The FTSE in London rose 0.7% , while the DAX in Frankfurt closed higher by 0.6%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Shanthi Venkataraman in New York

.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.