Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paper Chase Leads Stocks Higher

Stocks closed sharply higher on US markets Tuesday, with relief coming in the form of better-than-expected earnings from a handful of companies. Still, the market struggled through much of the day, as the Dow, in particular, made 70 points of the day's gains in the final 40 minutes of trading.

Dow 13,676.23 +109.26; NASDAQ 2,799.26 +45.33; S&P 500 1,519.59 +13.26; NYSE Composite 10,040.99 +110.21

After falling five consecutive days last week (with the exception of the NASDAQ, which had one up session last week), the markets have opened this important earnings season week with a pair of gainers. Absent important economic reports, the markets continue to climb a wall of worry, depending upon the 3rd quarter results of various firms.

The only meaningful economic reports this week are existing and new home sales, due out tomorrow and Thursday, respectively, both at 10:00 am ET.

Companies that reported after the close Monday or before the open Tuesday were Apple (AAPL), American Express (AXP), AT&T (T), Lockheed Martin (LMT), TD Ameritrade (AMTD) and UPS (UPS), all of which beat street expectations.

After the close Tuesday, internet retailer Amazon (AMZN) reported earnings for the quarter of $80 million, or 19 cents per share, from $19 million, or 5 cents per share, during the same period last year, beating expectations by a penny. Shares were higher by 9.53 (to 100.82) prior to the release, though the stock gave most of that gain back in after-hours trade due to gross margin worries.

Omnicom, Inc. (OMC), the world's largest advertising and marketing concern, posted net income of 62 cents per share, beating expectations by .01. Despite the solid results, the stock lost on the day, due to concerns going forward. The company gave a cautious outlook for 2008.

Advancing issues beat decliners by a nearly 2-1 margin, but new lows continued to hold sway over new highs, though by a narrow margin, 213-186.

Oil slid 75 cents to $85.27. Gold and silver registered marginal gains.

With Amazon's news after the close Tuesday, Wednesday may open with more gains. Of assistance could be these companies, reporting prior to the open: energy conglomerate ConocoPhillips (COP), drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), aircraft maker Boeing (BA) and brokerage Merrill Lynch (MER). Those stocks could make or break the will of investors out of the gate.

NYSE Volume 3,172,097,500
NASDAQ Volume 2,324,812,500

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