Stocks rose Thursday as a positive earnings report from Dow Jones Industrial Average component American Express (AXP) offset quarterly disappointments elsewhere.
The Dow added 1%, the S&P 500 rose 0.9%, and the Nasdaq climbed 1%.
American Express gained more than 5% following a first-quarter earnings beat. The credit card company reported earnings of $1.34 a share on revenue of $7.9 billion. Analysts anticipated $1.28 a share in earnings on sales of roughly $7.7 billion. Excluding its Costco-related revenue, adjusted sales came in 7% higher than a year earlier.
So far, 16% of S&P 500 companies have reported on their quarters and nearly a third of Dow companies have reported or will report this week. Analysts anticipate blended earnings growth of almost 11%, according to Thomson Reuters.
"First-quarter earnings season for the S&P 500, while admittedly still unfolding, appears to be positioning well for upside surprises that could deliver earnings growth of around 9%, in line with consensus expectations and perhaps even better than that," said John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer.
Qualcomm (QCOM) turned lower despite better-than-expected earnings and sales over its fiscal second quarter. Per-share earnings of $1.34 a share beat expectations of $1.19, while revenue of $5.99 billion came in higher than analysts' targets of $5.89 billion. Qualcomm's third-quarter profit guidance of 90 cents to $1.15 a share bracketed estimates of $1.09.
The chipmaker is currently embroiled in two different lawsuits over high patent fees, including a $1 billion claim against it by Apple (AAPL) . The company, which is one of Apple's suppliers, said it is not clear whether Apple's contract manufacturers will underpay royalties owed under their contracts this quarter.
Verizon (VZ) declined 0.9% after just falling shy of profit estimates over its first quarter and reporting a decline in revenue. Adjusted earnings of 95 cents a share came in a penny short of estimates. Revenue fell to $29.81 billion over the quarter, down from $32.17 a year earlier and below consensus of $30.41 billion. Wireless customers fell for the first time. The telecom committed to previous 2017 guidance.
Travelers (TRV) reported a drop in quarterly profit as catastrophe losses rose over the first quarter. The insurance company earned net income of $2.17 a share over its recent quarter, down from $2.30 a share a year earlier and below estimates of $2.37 a share. CEO Alan Schnitzer said the company saw "unusually high first quarter catastrophe losses that arose from a record number of tornado and hail events."
Fellow insurer Allstate (ALL) said it anticipates first-quarter catastrophe losses to equal roughly $508 million. Allstate said severe hail in Texas in March accounted for a third of the total losses for the quarter. The company is set to report its first-quarter performance on May 2.
Alliance Data Systems (ADS) rocketed 8.7% higher on Thursday after topping earnings and profit estimates and recommitting to its previous quarterly dividend of 52 cents a share. Earnings of $3.91 a share beat estimates by a nickel, while revenue climbed nearly 12% to $1.88 billion.
eBay (EBAY) fell 3% after earnings and sales came in largely in-line with estimates. The auction site earned 49 cents a share, just a penny higher than expected. Revenue rose 3.7% to $2.22 billion, meeting analysts' consensus. eBay said total global active buyers surged by 2 million over the first quarter to 169 million.