Dow Rallies 110 Points as Low Earnings Expectations Prove Easy to Beat

Journalist:
April 18, 2019

By CCN: The Dow jumped triple digits on Thursday, outpacing the broader U.S. stock market as corporate earnings season continued to surprise to the upside.

Dow Charges toward Record Highs

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied by as much as 141 points, reflecting a positive pre-market session for U.S. stock futures. The blue-chip index closed up 110.00 points, or 0.4%, at 26,559.54, where it was within 300 points of a record high.

Dow Jones Industrial Average barreling toward new record highs following latest advance. | Chart via Yahoo Finance.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks climbed 0.2% to settle at 2,905.03. Gains were primarily concentrated in industrials and the much smaller real estate sector. On the opposite side of the ledger, energy shares mostly lagged the broader market.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index flat-lined at 7,998.06.

Stocks are rallying on news of better than expected financial results from Wall Street’s biggest companies. According to FactSet, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have exceeded analysts’ expectations.

U.S. Economy Back on Track

U.S. consumer spending rebounds sharply in March, alleviating concerns of a deeper slowdown in economic growth. According to the Department of Commerce, retail sales climbed 1.6% month-on-month. | Source: Shutterstock

U.S. consumer spending gathered pace at the end of the first quarter, alleviating concerns of a more protracted cool down in the economy. Retail sales, a proxy for consumer spending, surged 1.6% in March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That was much highest pace of expansion since September 2017. It was also far higher than the median forecast calling for 0.9% growth.

Consumer spending accounts for roughly two-thirds of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which makes retail sales data especially pertinent for investors monitoring the health of the domestic economy. Before March, retail sales had failed to grow in three of the past four months.

In a separate report, the Department of Labor said initial jobless claims fell last week to a fresh 49-year low, offering definitive proof that the jobs market was still on solid footing. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits declined by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000, the lowest since September 1969. Markets were bracing for an increase to 205,000.

Last modified (UTC): April 18, 2019 16:11

Sam Bourgi @hsbourgi

Financial Editor to CCN Markets, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi. Sam is based in Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at sam.bourgi@ccn.com