U.S. Stocks Rebound on Corporate Results, GDP Report

U.S. stocks rebounded from the worst day since July, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index jumping the most in five weeks, as corporate results topped estimates and data showed the fastest economic growth since 2011.

Nike Inc. jumped 12 percent after reporting first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Micron Technology Inc. added 6.8 percent after a surge in quarterly sales beat projections. Yahoo! Inc. jumped after Starboard Value LP said it wants the Web portal to explore a combination with AOL Inc. Janus Capital Group Inc. rallied 43 percent after hiring Bill Gross, co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co.

The S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent to 1,982.85 at 4 p.m. in New York. The equity benchmark slumped the most since July yesterday and lost 1.4 percent in the past five days, its worst week in eight. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 165.88 points, or 1 percent, to 17,113.15, its best rally since Aug. 18. The Dow dropped 1 percent this week. About 5.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today, 12 percent below the three-month average.

“With some decent economic news in GDP, we’re now just seeing an oversold bounce as people get in line for the end of the quarter,” Ryan Detrick, a Cincinnati-based market strategist at the investment research firm, said in a phone interview. “We kept that beach ball down for a while and now it’s popping back up.”

Technical Level

Equities extended gains in afternoon trading as the S&P 500 moved above its average price for the past 50 days. The gauge dropped below the level yesterday for the first time since August. The index has advanced 7.3 percent this year, extending a bull market that has nearly tripled its level since 2009, amid continued Federal Reserve stimulus even as the economic recovery shows signs of strengthening.

The S&P 500 had fallen 2.3 percent since reaching a record on Sept. 18. Apple Inc., the largest company in the gauge, led a 1.6 percent selloff yesterday and dragged the Nasdaq 100 Index to its worst performance since April.

The Nasdaq 100 rebounded 1.2 percent today while the Russell 2000 Index added 0.8 percent after a 1.6 percent selloff yesterday. Apple advanced 2.8 percent.

“I do think it’s still a buy the dips market,” James Liu, global market strategist at JP Morgan Funds in New York, said by phone. The firm oversees about $400 billion in the U.S. “There’s always short-term news that can derail the market. But in the end, the underlying strength of the U.S. market still comes back so you’ve had upward momentum despite the dips.”

Volatility Gauge

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, the gauge known as the VIX, retreated 5.1 percent to 14.85 today. The index rallied 18 percent yesterday, the most since July, and added 23 percent this week.

Data today showed gross domestic product grew at a revised 4.6 percent annualized rate, up from a previous estimate of 4.2 percent, as companies stepped up investment and households boosted spending. A separate report indicated consumer confidence climbed in September to a 14-month high as Americans’ outlooks for the economy improved.

The Fed last week maintained a commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a considerable time after completing asset purchases. The Fed also said that the timing could move forward if data continues to exceed expectations. Investors are analyzing reports to assess whether growth is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.

Economic reports on employment and output from the manufacturing and services industries are due next week.

“Clearly the economy has seen varying degrees of improvement, but the level of improvement is not at where it warrants higher interest rates,” Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said by phone. “At present, it’s too early to put the bear suit on. It’s a ’buy on the dips’ equity and we may grind higher until earnings.”

All of the 10 main S&P 500 groups advanced today. Producers of consumer-discretionary products added 1.1 percent, while energy shares surged 1.3 percent.

Nike Inc. rallied 12 percent to a record $89.50. The world’s largest sporting-goods maker, posted first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates after the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament boosted sales.

Technology shares jumped 1.2 percent, as Micron and Yahoo surged. The group had its worst day since April yesterday.

Yahoo added 4.4 percent to $40.66. Starboard, which acquired a stake in the company, said Yahoo should review a tie-up with AOL to “unlock value.” AOL shares gained 3.7 percent to $44.55.

Bill Gross

Micron Technology added 6.8 percent to $33.84. The largest U.S. maker of computer-memory chips said fourth-quarter sales rose 49 percent, exceeding analysts’ estimates, as corporate demand for personal computers boosted prices.

Janus Capital surged 43 percent to $15.89, the highest since 2008. Gross is leaving Pimco amid record redemptions at his main mutual fund, the $222 billion Pimco Total Return fund. Allianz SE, the German insurer that owns Pimco, declined 6.2 percent in Frankfurt, the most since 2011.

“It’s a coup for Janus and it shows you with the stock price today how much investors weigh having Gross at Pimco,” said Kevin Headland, director of the portfolio advisory group at Manulife Asset Management in Toronto. The firm manages $281 billion. “The name of the person is the biggest name we have out there in North American money management, he’s all over the news and the news is quite shocking, so it drives people to take the money out and see where the chips lie.”

Shoot First

Pimco’s Global StocksPLUS & Income Fund slipped 5.7 percent, while the firm’s High Income Fund decreased 6.1 percent, after earlier falling the most in almost two years.

Closed-end funds bore the brunt of the selling because they aren’t subject to the intraday redemption and creation processes that cause exchange-traded funds to hew to the market prices of their underlying assets. For instance, as of yesterday, the Global StockPlus & Income fund traded at a 78 percent premium to its net asset value, while the High Income Fund cost 46 percent more than the value of its bonds.

“A lot of people bought into Pimco because of Bill Gross who was the face of the organization and so they’re shooting first and asking questions later,” Bill Mann, chief investment officer of Alexandria, Virginia-based Motley Fool Asset Management LLC, said by phone.

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