U.S. stocks rally, NASDAQ soars on earnings
Bolstered by a gain in technology stocks, the NASDAQ surged more than 1.25% on the session to eclipse a record-high previously reached in June.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, also had strong sessions on Thursday, closing higher for the fifth time in six sessions In spite of lower than expected earnings from the Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), the Dow still rose 70.08 or 0.39% to end Thursday’s session at 18,120.25.
It was more than offset by a strong session among major technology companies, as the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) all finished among the top performers of the day.
The NASDAQ soared 64.24 or 1.26% to 5,163.18, exceeding the previous all-time closing high of 5,160.09 on June 23, The S&P 500 added 16.89 or 0.80% to 2,124.29, as eight of 10 sectors closed in the green.
Stocks in the Utilities, Technology and Telecommunication industries led, each gaining at least 1% on the session. Stocks in the Basic Materials and Energy sectors lagged each closing lower for the day.
The S&P 500 is up approximately 4% from its level last week when it fell to a yearly low amid significant concerns related to a sell-off in Chinese equities and the Greek Debt crisis. Shares in Goldman Sachs fell more than 1.85 points to 211.09, after one of the nation’s largest banks posted its lowest quarterly earnings in nearly four years.
During the company’s second quarter, Goldman earned profits of $1.05 billion or 1.89 per share, far below analysts’ per share forecasts of 3.89. Goldman still exceeded analysts’ forecasts with quarterly revenue of $9.07 billion, above estimates of $8.78 billion. Goldman finished just ahead of McDonald`s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) as the worst performer on the Dow.
McDonald’s shares fell 1.21 or 1.22% to 97.86, following a report of a downbeat performance by the fast-food giant’s thousands of franchisees throughout the U.S… Microsoft finished as the top performer on the Dow, gaining 0.90 or 1.96% to 46.66.
The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX), which soared more than 18% one day after reporting optimistic quarterly results due in large part to a surge in international subscriber growth. Shares in Netflix jumped 17.47 or 17.80 per cent to 98.13.
Earlier this week, Netflix completed a 7-for-1 stock split after its stock peaked above $700 a share. Over the last 52-weeks, shares in Netflix are up more than 56%. The worst performer was Garmin Ltd (NASDAQ:GRMN), which fell 3.31 or 7.03% to 43.09.
Netflix was also the top performer on the S&P 500, just ahead of Tesoro which gained 4.92 or 5.04 to 102.63. Shares in TECO Energy Inc (NYSE:TE) were halted late in the session after a report surfaced that the Tampa-based electric utility company could be up for sale.
TECO Energy finished the session as the worst performer on the S&P 500. “While it is the long-standing policy of TECO Energy, Inc. not to confirm or deny market rumors, in response to media reports concerning a potential sale of the company, the company confirmed that it is exploring strategic alternatives,” TECO Energy officials said in a statement.
TECO and Garmin finished just below Sherwin-Williams Company (NYSE:SHW), which lost 20.25 or 7.18 per centto 261.91.
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