Skip to main content

Stocks Close to the Upside

The Nasdaq rides Yahoo! to some late-session gains.

Updated from 4:14 p.m. EDT

Stocks overcame another record high for oil and closed with gains as solid tech sector earnings drove momentum, even as a


official warned markets to "take in context" recent dovish emanations from her colleagues.


Nasdaq Composite

advanced late and rose 14.74 points, or 0.63%, to 2370.88.



, whose in-line first quarter helped reverse three months of selling that have taken the stock down 20%, was one of the names that contributed to the strength.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

gained 10 points, or 0.09%, to 11,278.77, and the

S&P 500

added 2.28 points, or 0.17%, to 1309.93.

About 1.75 billion shares traded on the

New York Stock Exchange

, where advancers beat decliners by a 10-to-7 margin. Trading volume on the Nasdaq was 2.17 billion shares, and three stocks rose for every two that fell.

"We held yesterday's gains, which is the positive side of today's activity," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist with Windham Financial. "We also had a good, strong advance-decline level today. Considering it's options expiration week, we're hoping the volatility that normally comes during this week is behind us already."

Janet Yellen, the San Francisco Fed president who sparked a rally Tuesday by suggesting rate hikes are almost done, said in a televised interview that it's important to remember that policy will be "data dependent" in coming months.

The end of tightening "really hinges on a number of assumptions that must be proven to be accurate for that to be a valid conclusion," Yellen said. "The committee has stated that it expects to see a moderation of growth

after the first quarter, and we do have to see evidence of that internalizing."

Yellen got the bulls running during the prior session when she expressed confidence that the first-quarter's breakneck growth would ease as the year progressed. The comments, combined wiith a dovish set of minutes from the FOMC's March meeting, convinced investors that policymakers will raise rates for the last time at their next meeting in May.

On the economic front, last month's consumer price index rose 0.4%. The core number, which excludes food and energy prices, was up 0.3%. Economists expected the March CPI to rise 0.3% and pegged the core number at up 0.2%. The core rate has climbed 2.1% year over year.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist with High Frequency Economics, said that a 3.2% year-over-year rise in primary rents, its highest in the CPI report in three years, "can do real damage to core inflation, making it all the more important that the Fed succeeds in slowing the economy to ease inflation pressure from wages and profit margins."

To view Gregg Greenberg's video take on today's market, click here


The 10-year Treasury bond, which hit a yield of 4.96% on Tuesday after the Federal Reserve released the minutes of its last FOMC meeting, was down 10/32 in price to yield 5.03%. Fed funds currently stand at 4.75% after 15 consecutive rate hikes. The dollar fell against the yen and euro.

"The bond yields jumped after the disappointing CPI data this morning," said Paul Nolte, director of investments of Hinsdale Associates. "We have decent earnings reports across the board today, but investors will keep looking ahead to more reports."

"Every time investors think the Fed is going to be one-and-done, they rally the market 100 points," said Marc Pado, market strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald. "Yesterday was no exception. The potential for an additional 25 basis points in June faded from over 50% to about 28%. That gave the market the added juice it needed to penetrate serious overhead supply."

Oil prices closed at another all-time high after a report showed declines in inventories last week. The Energy Department said crude stocks unexpectedly fell by 800,000 barrels last week. Gas inventories declined by 5.4 million barrels, the seventh straight week of losses, while distillate stocks fell by 2.8 million barrels.

Concerns about Iran's nuclear program and the sufficiency of existing gasoline inventories sent the May crude contract up 95 cents Tuesday to $71.35 a barrel. On Wednesday, crude futures rose 82 cents to finish at $72.17 a barrel, a record high.

Precious metals continued to climb. Gold futures surged $12.70 to close at $636 an ounce, a 25-year high. Silver was up 73 cents at $14.52 an ounce, a level not seen since early 1983.

"What's going on in the crude and gold markets should make us very, very nervous," said Mendelsohn. "These have broken out into very dangerous territory. A lot of what is holding the market up are energy issues, while gold stocks are through the roof, so everyone is looking through these advances."

Most of the day's earnings news was encouraging.



said first-quarter net rose 10% from a year ago to $1.1 billion, or 47 cents a share. Adjusted earnings of 49 cents a share were a penny ahead of estimates. The stock gained 39 cents, or 0.9%, to $41.69.



earnings jumped sharply from a charge-laden year-ago period, coming in at $4.1 billion, or 53 cents a share. Adjusted earnings of 61 cents a share were 7 cents better than expected. Full-year guidance of $2 a share was a penny short of the Thomson First Call consensus. Pfizer was lower by 11 cents, or 0.4%, to $24.82.

Shares of



added 7.2% after the company said profit fell 22% from a year ago to $160 million, or 11 cents a share. The number matched estimates, and Yahoo! guided its year in line. Yahoo! climbed $2.24 to close at $33.54.



finished lower after posting first-quarter earnings of $1.7 billion, or $1.08 a share, on sales of $20.7 billion. Analysts had been calling for $1.05 a share and $20.72 billion. Shares lost $1.45, or 1.7%, at $81.86.


Texas Instruments


, profits rose 57% in the first quarter on a 23% rise in sales. Both figures were better than expected, and CEO Rich Templeton said "demand was strong, and we expect it to continue" in a statement. TI added 45 cents, or 1.3%, to $34.45.



was the late session's main disappointment, as beats on the top line and in cell-phone unit shipments didn't translate into an upside earnings surprise. Adjusted earnings of 29 cents a share were a penny light. Motorola finished down $1.59, or 6.6%, to $22.49.

Dow component



posted first-quarter earnings of $436 million, or 52 cents a share, up from $358 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Sales rose 12% to $7.24 billion. The Thomson First Call consensus was for earnings of 49 cents on sales of $7.18 billion. Honeywell fell 63 cents, or 1.4%, to $43.53.

Elsewhere among Dow components,

United Technologies


reported a first-quarter profit of $768 million, or 76 cents a share, rising from $651 million, or 64 cents a share, last year. Earnings beat the consensus estimate by 3 cents. Revenue jumped 13% to $10.62 billion, also topping estimates. The stock jumped $3.90, or 6.6%, to $62.80.

JPMorgan Chase


posted first-quarter earnings of $3.1 billion, or 86 cents a share, up 35% from a year ago and ahead of the consensus by 2 cents a share. Revenue climbed to $15.2 billion from $13.7 billion last year and was also ahead of expectations. Shares tacked on 2 cents, or 0.05%, to $42.62.

The profit parade continued after the close.



said first-quarter net income fell to $1.3 billion, or 23 cents a share, from $2.2 billion, or 34 cents a share, last year. Sales were also down, falling 5% from last year to $8.9 billion. The earnings and sales matched estimates. Intel finished the session up 17 cents, or 0.9%, to $19.56 and was higher in the after-hours session.

Also after the bell,



posted second-quarter earnings of $410 million, or 47 cents a share, up from $290 million, or 34 cents a share, last year. Revenue jumped 35% to $4.26 billion. Earnings beat the Thomson First Call estimate of 43 cents a share, but Apple's revenue missed the target of $4.52 billion. Apple finished the session down 57 cents, or 0.9%, to $65.65 but was trading higher after the close.

Shares of



traded lower after the company said first-quarter profit fell 3% from last year to $248.3 million, or 17 cents a share, matching the consensus. Sales jumped 35% to $1.39 billion, also meeting forecasts. Before the report, eBay closed higher by $1.47, or 3.8%, to $40.35, but it was falling almost 5% afterward.

Overseas markets rose. London's FTSE 100 was up 0.8% to 6090, while Germany's Xetra DAX added 1.5% to 5993. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei gained 0.7% overnight to 17,350, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.2% to 16,830.