It was a huge day for stocks. The Nasdaq crossed its all-time closing record last reached in March 2000, and the S&P 500 crawled past its previous intraday high, topping 2,120 for the first time. Markets lost some ground into the close, however.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,117.64, +79.37, (0.44%)
- S&P 500: 2,117.51, +9.55, (0.45%)
- Nasdaq: 5,061.16, +25.98, (0.52%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
- West Texas Intermediate crude oil rallied by more than 3% to a year-to-date high of $US58.39 per barrel. Brent crude rallied by as much as 3.5% to its highs for the year. Reuters reported that investors were concerned about the stability of Middle East supplies as the civil war in Yemen continues. Oil prices have held above $US50 per barrel throughout April.
- Comcast could drop its $US45.2 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable as soon as Friday, according to Bloomberg. The deal has come under scrutiny from regulators due to anti-trust concerns; it would leave one less competitor on the market, and there are concerns the companies have no incentive to improve their customer service.
- In economic data, new home sales plunged 11.4% in March to an annual rate of 481,000, way below expectations for a 4.5% fall to an annualized rate of 515,000. But looking at the first quarter average, Barclays analysts noted the pace of sales as being “broadly in line with our view that the housing market remains in recovery mode and that activity for the rest of the year is likely to improve at a modest, albeit choppy, pace.”
- Initial jobless claims rose to 295,000 last week, more than economists expected. The consensus was for a total of 287,000 claims last week, down slightly from 294,000 the prior week.
- Markit’s manufacturing PMI slipped to 54.2 in April from 55.7 in March. “Manufacturers saw a disappointing start to the second quarter, reporting the weakest growth since January,” Markit’s Chris Williamson said.
- Dunkin’ Brands’ shares surged to an all-time high after the company reported first quarter results that topped estimates. The owner of Dunkin’ Doughnuts reported earnings per share of 40 cents, beating the forecast for 35 cents. Revenues came in at $US185.9 million (vs $US180.65 million.) US comparable store sales rose 2.7%, while Baskin-Robbins US comparable store sales rose 8.0%. It also raised its revenue guidance to 6% – 8%, up from 5% – 7% growth, seeing the deal with Keurig Green Mountain to market its K-Cups paying off.
- Skechers shares also rallied to a record high on great Q1 earnings, prompting several analysts to upgrade the stock. The company posted adjusted earnings per share of $US1.10, above the estimate of $US1. Revenues came in at $US767.9 million, well ahead of the forecast of $US703.2. million.
- Domino’s shares shot to an all-time high, also on better-than-expected earnings and same-store sales growth. EPS came in at $US0.81, beating the estimate of $US0.797. Revenues came in at $US502 million, higher than the $US487.3 million investors had forecast.
- PepsiCo’s earnings got hammered by the strong dollar. PepsiCo said its quarterly revenue fell 3.2 per cent, largely due to a strong dollar. Net revenue fell to $US12.22 billion, from $US12.62 billion a year earlier. Net income was little changed at $US1.22 billion but EPS rose to 81 cents from 79.
- General Motors missed earnings forecasts, with weak growth in Europe and South America, but a strong performance in North America amid the ignition switch recall saga. Adjusted EPS came in at $US0.86; Wall Street expected $US0.97. Revenue was $US35.7 billion, versus $US37.4 billion for the same quarter in 2014.