Stocks Edge Higher On Latest Economic & Earnings Data


Thursday, April 15, 2010
Market Commentary:

Stocks ended higher on Thursday as investors digested Wednesday’s large move and the latest round of earnings and economic data. Volume totals on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq exchange were reported slightly lower compared to Wednesday’s totals. Advancers led decliners by a 4-to-3 ratio on the Nasdaq exchange and were about even on the NYSE. New 52-week highs easily trumped new lows on both exchanges. There were 89 high-ranked companies from the Leaders List that made a new 52-week high and appeared on the BreakOuts Page, higher than the 86 issues that appeared on the prior session. A healthy crop of new leaders making new highs bodes well for any market rally. Regular readers know we have repeatedly noted in this commentary –“the recent expansion in leadership has been a welcome improvement.”

Strong Mfg Data Offsets Weaker Jobs Data:

Before Thursday’s open, the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims unexpectedly climbed to 484,000, which is a two month high. The four-week moving average of initial claims, which smoothes out the weekly data, rose to 457,75 from 450,250. Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve said factory production rose +0.9% after rising +0.2% in February which topped analyst estimates. Oversea’s China said its economy surged nearly +12% last quarter which topped the Street’s forecast.

Earnings Data Continues To Top Estimates:

At this point, earnings have been positive, evidenced by the slew of stronger than expected results from several high profiile companies. After Thursday’s close, tech giant, Google Inc. (GOOG +1.07%) released another robust quarterly report but traded slightly lower in the after market as investors digest the numbers. Google’s Q1 earnings rose +31% vs the same period in 2009 while sales jumped +23%. Medical giant, Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG +1.06%) also topped estimates when they reported another outstanding quarter. The company said earnings surged +194% vs. Q1 2009 while sales jumped a very impressive +74%.

Market Action- Confirmed Rally:

The benchmark S&P 500 Index currently has 5 distribution days while the Nasdaq Composite and Dow Jones Industrial Average have 4 since the March 1, 2010 follow-though-day (FTD). These distribution days have not been damaging which is a welcomed sign. Trade accordingly.


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