Stocks sold off initially today as earnings season heated up, but progress on the Ukraine crisis drove a relief rally.
The S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) initially fell as low as 1856.72 in early trading but turned higher to finish up 0.1% at 1864.84.
Officials from Russia, Ukraine, EU, and US made an agreement that delayed economic sanctions, which implies clear progress toward a peaceful resolution.
And while the US stock reaction was positive, Russian stocks really put on a show, with the Market Vector Russia ETF Trust
(NYSEARCA:RSX) up 6.1%. Eastern European stocks were also stellar performers.
We saw quite a few major earnings reports yesterday afternoon and this morning.
Flash memory producer SanDisk
(NASDAQ:SNDK) was up a whopping 9.4% after delivering a substantial earnings beat Thursday after the close.
(NYSE:GE) reported revenues that were slightly below consensus but earnings that were better than expected, which lead traders to send the stock 1.7% higher.
Chipotle Mexican Grill
(NYSE:CMG) delivered a disappointing earnings number, but its revenues were well ahead of expectations and guidance was strong. However, the company announced on its conference call that it would raise its prices to combat high beef costs, an shares plummeted, finishing down 5.9%.
Investment banks Goldman Sachs
(NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley
(NYSE:MS) were also standouts, each exceeding consensus estimates by wide margins. Both stocks rallied today. We also saw solid beats from Baker Hughes
(NYSE:BLK), and PepsiCo
On the downside, Google
(NASDAQ:GOOG), which reported after the close Thursday, sold off 3.7% as it missed Wall Street's top- and bottom-line estimates.
(NYSE:IBM) also traded lower as investors were unimpressed with its revenues despite better-than-expected full-year guidance.
Overall, US market activity was constructive, with a healthy intraday rebound in the small-cap Russell 2000
(INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) and the biotech sector and a downward move in utilities stocks -- a combination indicating risk-friendliness on the part of traders. On the negative side, housing stocks were weak.
In economics news, initial jobless claims for last week were 304,000, coming under the 315,000 consensus forecast. Continuing claims were 2.74 million vs. Wall Street's forecast of 2.78 million.
The April Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook was 16.6, which was ahead of the 10.0 reading expected, as well as last month's 9.0 reading.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
We'll be in the heart of earnings season next week, and Monday will be a busy day with reports from the likes of Halliburton
(NYSE:CE), and Netflix
In US economics, March Chicago Fed National Activity Index will be reported at 8:30 a.m. ET, followed by March Leading Economic Indicators at 10:00 a.m.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.