U.S. Stocks Rise as Energy Rally Overshadows Retail Sales Data

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JPMorgan Q1 Profit Up 12%: Breaking Down the Numbers

U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index near its average price for the past 50 days, as a rally in energy companies overshadowed weaker-than-forecast retail sales.

Chevron Corp. climbed 2.2 percent as oil rose for a fourth day. JPMorgan Chase & Co. advanced 1.6 percent after quarterly profit beat analysts’ estimates. Norfolk Southern Corp. fell 4.2 percent on lower-than-expected revenue. Semiconductors retreated during regular trading hours, while Intel Corp. rebounded 2.3 percent after the market close.

The S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent to 2,095.84 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 59.66 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,036.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 0.2 percent. About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 13 percent below the three-month average.

“The market will go as earnings go for the next couple of weeks,” said Terry Morris, a senior equity manager who helps oversee about $2.8 billion at Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based National Penn Investors Trust Co. “The market wants to see some sales growth, but we haven’t seen it yet.”

Sales at U.S. retailers rose less than forecast in March after being depressed by harsh winter weather, signaling consumers are intent on not overextending themselves.

Purchases increased 0.9 percent, the first gain in four months, after a 0.5 percent drop in February, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of 87 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 1.1 percent advance.

Wholesale Prices

A separate report showed wholesale prices in the U.S. climbed in March for the first time in five months, reflecting higher costs for fuels and motor vehicles.

A pickup in wholesale costs that filters through to consumers would help reassure Federal Reserve policy makers that inflation will advance toward their goal. At the same time, a rising dollar and limited growth overseas may hamper efforts by American companies to be more aggressive in raising prices.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said that while rates will probably rise this year, any decision depends on economic data. Recent economic releases have missed projections by the most in six years.

The S&P 500 fell on Monday as General Electric Co. retreated from a six-year high, leading industrial companies lower. Last week, both the S&P 500 and the Dow closed near records.

Earnings Season

Analysts have slashed profit projections, predicting a slump through September amid concern that a stronger dollar and tumbling oil prices are hurting results. Earnings probably fell 5.6 percent in the first quarter, they predict.

JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank, gained 1.6 percent after saying profit climbed 12 percent as first-quarter revenue from trading stocks and bonds increased for the first time since 2010.

Norfolk Southern Corp., the second-largest railroad in the eastern U.S., tumbled 4.2 percent after first-quarter profit declined and missed analyst estimates amid decreased coal shipments. Union Pacific Corp. slipped 0.3 percent, after earlier losing almost 4 percent.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index fell 1.9 percent to 13.67. The gauge, known as the VIX, fell 14 percent last week to its lowest level of 2015.

Energy Rallies

Seven of the S&P 500’s 10 main groups rose, led by energy and utility shares. Energy companies jumped 1.8 percent to the highest level in more than seven weeks. Apache Corp., Transocean Ltd. and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. added at least 3.4 percent. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 2.7 percent.

Consumer staples increased 0.2 percent, paced by gains in Hershey Co. and PepsiCo Inc. of at least 1 percent. Estee Lauder Cos. and Tyson Foods Inc. added more than 1.7 percent.

Semiconductor companies led a retreat among tech shares as Intel, Broadcom Corp. and Altera Corp. fell at least 0.8 percent during regular hours. Google lost 1.6 percent as the company could face possible fines and new constraints in the European Union.

Intel jumped 2.3 percent as of 4:42 p.m. in New York. After the market close, the world’s largest chipmaker gave a forecast for second-quarter sales that was in line with analysts’ estimates, helped by demand for chips that power servers in data centers.

Laptop production rebounded last month, potentially helping Intel’s sales recover after a slump early in the year led it to slash its first-quarter revenue forecast.

Wells Fargo & Co. slipped 0.7 percent as first-quarter net income fell 1.1 percent from a year earlier, and net interest margin dropped below 3 percent for the first time since the 1990s.

“We’re starting to hit the reporting season which is going to be a major driver for the next few weeks,” said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank AG in London. “The market is not looking for a good set of numbers as demand has been hit by a stronger dollar, but the numbers for financials are expected to be reasonably decent for this quarter.”

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