Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Intel Earnings Report Lifts Stocks

After the bell on Tuesday, chipmaker Intel reported second quarter earnings results far ahead of Wall Street expectations. That was enough to give investors confidence that the economy was continuing to mend - albeit slowly - and that stocks - especially tech companies with strong balance sheets - would weather the storm and produce solid results.

As a result, all the major indices gapped up at the open and continued to tack on impressive gains for the entire session.

There have been conflicting data and no consensus on the economy or the stock market of late, but as earnings roll out, opinions are beginning to shift to more positive tones, and nothing will light up a rally like a strong report from a solid company, such as Intel.

Intel reported a second-quarter loss of 7 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.6 billion, or 28 cents a share, for the year-earlier period. The loss was attributable to a hefty fine imposed by the European Union. Excluding the charge, Intel posted profits of 18 cents a share, better than analyst's expectations for 8 cents per share.

Dow 8,616.21, +256.72 (3.07%)
NASDAQ 1,862.90, +63.17 (3.51%)
S&P 500 932.68, +26.84 (2.96%)
NYSE Composite 5,993.16, +187.58 (3.23%)

Gainers outnumbered losers by a wide margin, 5583-936. New highs took back the advantage over new lows, 87-70, and, in what was probably the most encouraging sign for market participants, volume was significantly higher than it had been over the past month, a sign that more money was in the market for gains on the day. Whether stocks can build on the momentum of the first three days of the week will be telling. The Dow has rung up gains in each of the three session, while the NASDAQ is on a four-day winning streak.

NYSE Volume 1,374,278,000
NASDAQ Volume 2,577,142,000

Taking their lead from the stock market, commodity traders pushed prices higher in a spasm of buying. Oil gained $2.02, to $61.54; gold picked up $16.60, to close at $939.40, while silver added 35 cents, to $13.21.

On the agenda for tomorrow, second quarter earnings report from JP Morgan, one of the banks which took a roller-coaster ride, price-wise, over the past 12 months. The company is expected to have turned a profit in the current quarter, and earnings are expected in the area of 4 cents per share, which is a number significantly lower than just a month ago, when analysts were looking for 37 cents a share. Depending on the size of the rally and Morgan's results, the snake oil could be flowing come tomorrow. Buyers of this current snort-term rally may get less than what they've bargained for.

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