Amerikanske aksjer slo rekordhøyder

NEW YORK - The Dow og S & P 500 klatret for å registrere intradag høyder på torsdag, buoyed av en gruppe bedre enn forventet inntjening, som kongressens vitnesbyrd av Federal Reserve-ordføreren Ben Bernanke fortsatte inn i sin andre dag.

Toronto aksjemarkedet var høyere torsdag i lindring over fortsatt støtte til økonomisk stimulans fra US Federal Reserve og blandede råvarepriser.

S & P / TSX komposittindeksen var opp 104.74 poeng til 12,673.51, ledet av gevinster i energilager og finans.

Den kanadiske dollar var fremover 0.16 av en cent til 96.18 cent USA. Det skjedde nesten halvparten av amerikanske cent onsdag etter at Canadas Bank sa at det ikke hadde noe med å øke nøkkelsatsen fra en prosent, hvor den har vært i nesten tre år.

Aksjer i Morgan Stanley hoppet 4.8% til US $ 27.80 etter at banken hadde en 42% økning i kvartalsresultatet da børskursinntektene økte. S & P finansindeksen klatret 1.1%.

Et hopp i aksjer i UnitedHealth bidro til å løfte Dow og andre helseforsikringsselskaper. UnitedHealth fikk 5.6% til US $ 69.93 etter at selskapets resultater slår forventningene, mens Morgan Stanley helsepersonell betalerindeksen steg 2.9%.

Analytikernes estimater for bedriftens inntjening er blitt senket så mye at investorer tror at de lave målene bør overskrides enkelt. I stedet vil investorene sannsynligvis skille seg inn på inntektstall og utsikt.

"Corporate America har blitt veldig bra på å sette baren på et nivå hvor de kan glide over det hvert kvartal, og Wall Street fortsetter å falle for det. Så hvorfor ødelegge en god plan? "Sa Stephen Massocca, administrerende direktør i Wedbush Equity Management LLC i San Francisco.

IBM raised its full-year outlook and reported earnings that beat estimates, though the company missed forecasts on revenue. Shares of International Business Machines rose 2.3% to US$198.99. IBM provided the top boost to the Dow and helped offset a 3.9% drop in Intel to US$23.19 after the world’s biggest chipmaker cut its full-year revenue forecast.

Analysts expect S&P 500 companies’ second-quarter earnings to have grown 3.5% from a year earlier, with revenue up 1.1%, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Of the 81 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings through Thursday so far, 70.4% have reported earnings above analysts’ expectations, while revenue has topped estimates at a 49.4% rate.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 98.03 points, or 0.63%, to 15,568.55. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 8.82 points, or 0.52%, to 1,689.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.20 points, or 0.06%, to 3,612.20.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 hit new intraday highs shortly after the opening bell. The Dow climbed as high as 15,589.40, while the S&P 500 touched a session high of 1,693.12.
Aside from Intel, the Nasdaq’s gains were capped by eBay. The e-commerce company’s stock slumped 6.4% to US$53.74 after eBay said full-year results would be at the low end of its forecast range.

A meeting of Dell shareholders to vote on founder Michael Dell’s US$24.4-billion offer to take the company private was adjourned to next week. Dell’s stock rose 2.3% to US$13.18.

With the benchmark S&P 500 up nearly 18% for the year, investors are alert to any signs of how soon the Federal Reserve will start to wind down the pace of its US$85-billion a month in bond purchases, a major driver of the U.S. stock market’s rally this year.

Speaking before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Bernanke stressed that the timeline for winding down the Fed’s stimulus program was not set in stone. As the chairman continued his testimony on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee, he said economic data since the Fed’s June meeting has been mixed. But it’s too early to make a judgment on the impact for the central bank’s forecasts, he added.

“He’s done a good job of navigating the waters,” Massocca said. “He’s got people calmed down about interest rates, but on the other hand, the economy seems to be doing OK.”

The TSX continued to benefit from traders buying up mining stocks that have been beaten up this year while commodity prices have suffered from a slow global economic recovery. Gold prices have sunk recently on speculation as to when the Fed might start to ease up on its bond purchases.

On Thursday, all TSX sectors were higher save for a slight dip in the real estate group. Advancers were led by a 1.3% rise in the financials sector while Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) advanced 81 cents to $58.85 while Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) was ahead 36 cents to $18.34.

The energy sector gained one per cent as benchmark crude for August delivery was up $1.23 at $107.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gaining 48 cents on Wednesday.

Despite cooling economic growth in China, the price of oil was underpinned by another sizable decline in U.S. oil supplies. The U.S. crude inventory fell by 6.9 million barrels last week, bringing the three-week decline to 27.1 million barrels. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) was up 73 cents to $34.10.

The consumer staples sector was also up 0.9% with food company Saputo (TSX:SAP) ahead 88 cents to $49.63.

Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) posted quarterly earnings of $147-million or 73 cents a share, one cent above a consensus estimate and its shares added 20 cents to $60.45. The Shoppers board and management are supporting a $12.4-billion takeover offer from Loblaw (TSX:L), announced earlier this week.

Copper prices shook of early losses and the September contract on the Nymex gained one cent to US$3.14 a pound. The base metals sector edged up 0.8% and First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM) climbed 34 cents to C$16.49.

The gold sector rose 0.7% as August bullion gained $8.50 to US$1,286 an ounce. Centerra Gold (TSX:CG) improved by 11 cents to C$4.12.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, struggling cellphone maker Nokia Corp. said second-quarter sales fell to 5.7-billion euros from 7.5-billion euros in the same period last year. Net loss for the April-June period was 227-million euros, compared to a net loss of 1.41-billion euros a year earlier.

The sales figures fell short of analysts’ expectations of 6.4-billion euros and its shares fell 2.2% in New York.

U.S. telecom Verizon Communications Inc. reported quarterly net income of $5.2-billion, or 78 cents per share, up 21% from a year ago. Excluding a pension-related gain, earnings were 73 cents per share, cent better than estimates. Revenue was $29.79-billion, up more than four per cent from a year ago and in line with analyst expectations and its shares lost 1.9 per cent. Verizon’s CFO also said during a conference call that the telecom is exploring a move into Canada.

European bourses were positive with London’s FTSE 100 index up 1.13%, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 0.92% and the Paris CAC 40 rose 1.3%.

With files from Reuters, The Canadian Press

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