STOCKS HIT ALL-TIME HIGHS: Here's what you need to know

Bull matador jump flyREUTERS/Jaime SaldarriagaA Spanish recortador jumps over a bull during a show in California

The S&P 500 climbed to an intra-day high for a second straight day. The Nasdaq closed at a record high after several tech giants rose on earnings results.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,082, +25, (+0.2%)
  • S&P 500: 2,117.85, +4.9, (+0.2%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,091, +35, (+0.7%)

And now, the top stories on Friday:

  1. Three of the largest US tech companies saw huge stock advances in trading after reporting earnings on Thursday. Amazon shares surged by more than 15%, Microsoft jumped by more than 10%, and Google rallied by more than 3%. All three companies rallied after earnings, though Google’s report did come in short of expectations. Apple and Alibaba report quarterly results on Monday.
  2. The number of active US oil rigs keeps plunging, and fell by 31 to 703 this week, the lowest level since October 2010. The number of combined oil and gas rigs fell by 22 to 932, the lowest level since July 2009. Morgan Stanley has said that the count will bottom in about three months, based on their study of previous periods when rig counts declined.
  3. In economic data, headline durable goods orders jumped 4.0%, beating expectations for a 0.6% gain in March; this was due to robust vehicle and aircraft orders. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft — an important measure of business spending — unexpectedly fell by 0.5%, versus -0.3% forecast, reflecting the slowdown in the energy sector.
  4. Charter Communications may want to buy Time Warner Cable. The news via Bloomberg came a few hours after Comcast announced that it abandoned a $US45 billion deal with TWC. Charter Communications advisors are reportedly preparing a potential bid for TWC, whose shares jumped more than 5% in late-afternoon trading on the report.
  5. Gold got smoked, falling by more than 1% (about $US16 an ounce) to as low as $US11.74.40, a one-month trough.
  6. Biogen shares tanked because even though quarter profits surged 71%, earnings and revenues came in below expectations. The stock fell by over 6% to as low as $US395 per share on Friday. The company also said sales of its major oral multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera slowed, and its revenues fell 10% quarter-over-quarter. Piper Jaffray lowered its price target to $US485 from $US500, writing in a note that the stock “has a long way to go before it can be considered a top pick again.”

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