Stocks are on pace for best week since January 2013; Amazon plunges following dismal results



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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks rose again Friday, putting the market on track for its best week in almost two years, helped by strong quarterly results from companies such as Microsoft and UPS. Amazon plunged after the company reported dismal third-quarter results, but it wasn't enough to drag the rest of the market down.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,763 as of 12:05 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,960 and the Nasdaq composite is up 18 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,470.

GOOD NEWS: Investors got encouraging earnings news from two closely watched companies: Microsoft and UPS.

The software giant reported quarterly sales and profits well above analysts' expectations, and cloud software services, a business that Microsoft was focusing on, also showed notable gains. Microsoft shares rose 74 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $45.76.

UPS rose $1.15, or 1 percent, to $101.63 after the company also reported strong quarterly results. UPS also expects December shipments to be up 11 percent from a year ago. Investors sometimes use UPS as a bellwether for how the U.S. economy is doing, particularly during the crucial holiday shopping season.

CLEARANCE: Amazon dropped $23.40, or 8 percent, to $289.74 after the company reported a steeper-than-expected loss in the latest quarter. The deficit came despite a large increase in sales from a year ago. Investors have been getting impatient with Amazon, which has been unable to deliver profits even as its gains ground as one of the world's largest retail companies.

FED MEETING: Investors will increasingly turn their focus to next week's Federal Reserve policy meeting for confirmation that the U.S. central bank is ending its bond-buying program. That policy has kept interest rates extremely low to support an economic recovery. It has also helped drive gains in stock prices as investors sought higher returns. Recent mixed signals about the strength of the U.S. recovery have prompted speculation that the Fed might let the program continue for longer than previously anticipated.

GREAT WEEK: After the turbulence in the market last week, U.S. stocks are on pace for their best week in nearly two years. The S&P 500 is up 3.9 percent so far this week, the biggest gain since January 2013. But volatility can go both ways. Just as the market jumped sharply this week, it plunged just as sharply last week. Even with this week's gains, the S&P 500 is still down 0.6 percent for October.

"We've seen the market sell-off and we saw people buy on the bounce, and that looks like it will continue," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial.

TO THE REPAIR SHOP: Ford fell 61 cents, or 4 percent, to $13.81 after the company reported a steep drop in profits. Net income dropped 34 percent to $835 million in the third quarter, mostly due to the costs of launching its new F-150 truck.

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED: Procter & Gamble, the consumer products giant, was up $2.52 or 3 percent to $85.75. The maker of Tide detergent and Bounty paper towels said it is looking to sell or spin off its Duracell division in order to focus on other parts of its business. Disposable batteries have become less used in recent years as more electronics use internal rechargeable batteries.

BUBBLY: SodaStream jumped $3.49, or 17 percent, to $24.74 after news reports said SodaStream and PepsiCo would do a 10-week partnership to sell Pepsi products for SodaStream's carbonation machines.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell $1.01 to $80.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped the day before on reports of lower production in Saudi Arabia and signs of strength in the U.S. economy.

CURRENCIES, BONDS: The euro edged up to $1.2669. The dollar slipped to 107.97 yen from 108.17 yen. Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.26 percent.

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