Wall Street ended its first session of the month mostly higher as tech stocks boosted the Nasdaq and a congressional funding deal brought relief to the S&P 500.
The S&P 500 was up 0.19%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.73% to close at a record high of 6,091. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.11% after flitting around its flatline for much of the session.
Major tech companies were in rally mode ahead of closely watched earnings reports from Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) later this week. Apple, the largest publicly traded company in the world, reports earnings on Tuesday afternoon in what has become a highlight of the reporting season. The company is seen as an industry bellwether and a measure of consumer sentiment, taking the pulse of how willing consumers are to spend on discretionary items. Social media leader Facebook will report on Wednesday.
Congressional leaders reached a deal Sunday night on a spending bill that will fund the federal government through September, avoiding a shutdown that could have gone into effect at the end of the week. The spending bill funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year, through Sept. 30, rejecting cuts to certain popular domestic programs targeted by Donald Trump.
The $1 trillion spending bill gives Trump the funds to strengthen the military, though rejects his request for money to begin construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The bill includes $1.5 billion for border security, though those funds cannot be used to break ground on Trump's proposed wall. Trump had campaigned on the controversial pledge to build a wall along the southern border and, even more unlikely, make Mexico pay for it.
"The bulls are feeling better this morning with the gap-up open on the budget deal, but the real test is going to be their ability to sustain some buying once the market opens," said James "Rev Shark" Deporre in his column for Real Money, our premium site for investors.
The bill still has to receive votes from the House of Representatives and Senate. A passing vote needs to be made by midnight Friday for the government to avoid a shutdown.
Financials stocks were on watch after Trump said he was open to breaking up the big banks. In comments to Bloomberg News, Trump said he was "looking at [a break up] right now," a possibility he had floated on the campaign trail. Major banks including Wells Fargo (WFC) , JPMorgan (JPM) , Citigroup (C) , and Goldman Sachs (GS) remained higher. Financials were already in the green before Trump's comments.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday in comments to Fox News at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles that U.S. economic growth could take roughly two years to return to 3%. In separate comments to CNBC, Mnuchin said that he proposes eliminating all tax deductions, save for mortgage and charitable deductions, to help the middle class.
Manufacturing activity declined in April at a faster pace than analysts had anticipated. The ISM Manufacturing Index declined to 54.8 in April, down from 57.2 in March and below a target of 56.5. New orders, production and employment were on the rise, while supplier deliveries and inventories fell.
"The pullback in the overall index brings the series more in line with actual output data," explained Barclays' Rob Martin in a note. "Post-election, the series surged, but this sharp rise was not matched with a surge in production. Instead, production has moved only modestly higher. We expect further modest gains this year."
A separate reading on the state of manufacturing activity in the U.S. in April weakened from a month earlier, though met analysts' estimates. Markit Economics' PMI Manufacturing Index came in at 52.8 in April, down from 53.3. in March. Manufacturing business conditions saw their slowest improvement since September last year. Production increased for its 11th straight month.
Construction spending showed an unexpected decline in March, likely a result of rough winter weather that hampered outdoor activity. Spending fell by 0.2% in March, down from 1.8% growth in February, its best since April 2006. Analysts anticipated growth of 0.5%.
Personal incomes in the U.S. rose in March, though at a slower pace than expected. Incomes increased by 0.2% in March, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, though fell short of growth estimates of 0.3%. Consumer spending was flat in March, while the savings rate reached a seven-month high of 5.9%.
"The causa proxima for the demise of that axiom will likely be earnings as the secular bull market has transitioned from an interest rate, to an earnings-driven, secular bull market; and this quarter's earnings are no exception," said Raymond James' Jeffrey D. Saut.
Dish Networks (DISH) beat earnings estimates in its recent quarter. Net income fell to 76 cents a share from 86 cents in the same quarter a year earlier, though topped estimates by 6 cents. However, revenue fell to $3.68 billion and missed estimates by $100 million after a decline in subscribers. The number of net pay TV subscribers over the quarter dropped by 143,000, a steep escalation from a drop of 23,000 a year earlier.
Cardinal Health (CAH) reported a mixed fiscal third quarter, beating on the bottom-line but falling short on the top. The health services company earned $381 million, or $1.20 a share, over the quarter. Adjusted profit of $1.53 a share came in higher than consensus of $1.46. Revenue increased to $31.8 billion from $30.7 billion, but fell short of estimates of $32.3 billion.
21st Century Fox (FOXA) is in talks with private-equity firm Blackstone (BX) to launch a joint bid for TV-station owner Tribune Media (TRCO) , the Financial Times reported. Fox and Blackstone hope to trump a rival offer from Sinclair Broadcasting (SBGI) , the largest owner of U.S. television stations, and plan to form a joint venture for the deal, with Blackstone providing the cash and Fox injecting its own portfolio of stations, according to the FT. Tribune Media shares rose 6%.
Neurotrope (NTRP) lost 62% as investors grew skeptical over the results of a clinical trial for an Alzheimer's drug. The drugmaker called the phase 2 trial results positive, though one of the patient groups failed to meet the primary endpoint of the trial. The company only released the results of a lower-dose trial.
AEterna Zentaris (AEZS) plummeted 59% after publishing weak results from a trial for a cancer treatment. The Phase 3 trial of its treatment for metastatic endometrial cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of an increase in survival for patients treated, the company said. CEO David Dodd said he does not expect further clinical trials of Zoptrex.
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