Stocks rise as investors await more earnings results

Stocks rose on Monday, led by tech shares, as investors awaited the latest batch of corporate earnings releases.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 29 points higher as Microsoft and Apple outperformed. The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent as the tech sector gained 1.4 percent. The Nasdaq Composite outperformed, gaining 0.9 percent.

Shares of Facebook, Amazon Apple Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet all traded at least 1 percent higher. The Technology Select Sector SPDR fund (XLK) rose 1.4 percent and is on pace for its best day since Jan. 15.

Alphabet and Gilead Sciences are scheduled to report earnings after the close Monday. Disney, General Motors, Viacom and Kellogg are all slated to release their results later this week.

Shares of Clorox rose nearly 7 percent after the company posted a better-than-expected profit. Clorox also reiterated its guidance for 2019 earnings and revenue. Sysco and Alexion Pharmaceuticals also reported stronger-than-forecast earnings. Sysco shares rose 4.8 percent. Alexion gained as much as 2.1 percent before trading 2 percent lower.

So far, more than 47 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results. Of those companies, 68.5 percent have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

“When I think about this earnings season, it’s more average and OK than what we’ve seen over the past three quarters,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. “This quarter is more of what you typically see in an average quarter.”

Earnings grew by more than 20 percent in the first three quarters of 2018. So far, fourth-quarter earnings are up by 12.5 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Monday’s moves come after the Dow and Nasdaq posted their sixth straight weekly gains last week. The S&P 500 also notched its fifth one-week gain in six. Stocks completed last week their best monthly gain since October 2015, with the S&P 500 notching its largest one-month rise since 1987.

“It was a huge rebound in performance from oversold conditions in December, largely driven by the fact that the worst fears earnings didn’t come true, a very patient Fed and 100 months of consecutive jobs growth,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.

Analysts heavily revised down their estimates for fourth-quarter earnings after a late-December sell-off. The sharp move down briefly pushed the S&P 500 into bear-market territory on an intraday basis.

Investors were also worried about the Federal Reserve’s path towards normalizing monetary policy. They feared the central bank was tightening policy too quickly. Those fears were assuaged last week after the Fed emphasized it will be patient with future rate hikes. Meanwhile, the January jobs report released Friday easily topped analyst expectations.

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Ed Moya

Ed Moya

Senior Market Analyst at OANDA
With more than 20 years’ trading experience, Ed Moya is a market analyst with OANDA, producing up-to-the-minute fundamental analysis of geo-political events and monetary policies in the US, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Over the course of his career, he has worked with some of the world’s leading forex brokerages and research departments including Global Forex Trading, FX Solutions and Trading Advantage. Most recently he worked with TradeTheNews.com, where he provided market analysis on economic data and corporate news. Based in New York, Ed is a regular guest on several major financial television networks including BNN, CNBC, Fox Business, and Bloomberg. He is often quoted in leading print and online publications such as the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He holds a BA in Economics from Rutgers University. Follow Ed on Twitter @edjmoya ‏
Ed Moya