FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
Building on its first seven-week surge in nearly four years, Wall Street climbed steadily higher to fresh two-year highs on Tuesday in the face of Steve Jobs’s mysterious leave of absence at Apple and Citigroup's big earnings dud.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50.55 points, or 0.43%, to 11837.93, the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 1.78 points, or 0.14%, to 1295.02 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 10.55 points, or 0.38%, to 2765.85. The FOX 50 lost 1.94 points, or 0.21%, to 922.83.
Instead of worrying about Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Citigroup’s (NYSE:C) results, Wall Street focused on upcoming results from Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), enthusiasm for Boeing's (NYSE:BA) new 787 Dreamliner schedule and a surge for the closely-watched euro.
“The trend continues to be really constructive, with earnings driving,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Capital Group. “The market has definitely shaken off Jobs. We’ve been inoculated to that story.”
The Dow landed at a level unseen since June 2008 -- nearly three months before the implosion of Lehman Brothers that cratered the economy. Most of the benchmark index's 30 components advanced, led by economically-sensitive Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Boeing. The index's weakest links were Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which is set to report results on Friday.
The Nasdaq Composite posted more tepid gains, but still climbed out of a big early hole amid strength from tech stocks like Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) and Google. The index also reached its highest close since November 2007.
Tuesday's resiliency is nothing new on Wall Street as the S&P 500 last week capped off its seventh consecutive weekly rally, the longest such streak since May 2007. Wall Street was closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
Tech traders breathed a sigh of relief as Apple slashed its early 6.5% dive despite question marks about the health of Jobs, its co-founder. Few companies' fortunes are thought to be as closely aligned to their CEO as Apple's with Jobs, who is its chief visionary.
While Jobs said he is staying on as CEO, Tim Cook, Apple's respected chief operating officer, will take control of day-to-day operations. Apple could give new clues about the reason for Jobs's medical leave and when he is expected back when it releases its quarterly results after Tuesday's close.
Wall Street also shook off a 5% dive for Citigroup, which disappointed shareholders with a fourth-quarter profit of 4 cents a share, trailing consensus calls for 8 cents. The No. 3 U.S. bank's revenue more than doubled to $18.37 billion, but badly missed the Street's view for $20.4 billion.
On the other hand, Boeing provided a boost to the markets, jumping 3% after saying it sees its 787 Dreamliner deliveries finally beginning in the third quarter. While that marks the seventh official delay to the program, shareholders breathed a sigh of relief at the new timetable and the fact Boeing doesn’t see a “material” impact on its 2010 results.
Likewise, U.S. markets cheered the soaring euro, which climbed above its 100-day moving average and leaped 0.68% to $1.3381. Wall Street tends to benefit from a weaker U.S. dollar because it makes exports cheaper.
In the commodities complex, crude oil fell 16 cents a barrel, or 0.17%, to $91.38. Gold gained $7.70 a troy ounce, or 0.57%, to $1,368.10.
Wall Street had little reaction to the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing index, which soared in January to 11.92, nearly meeting forecasts for 12. The index stood at just 11.92 in December. Also, the National Association of Home Builders said its January home builder sentiment index remained at its very low level of 16 for the third straight month.
Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCA) won approval from both the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department to acquire control of General Electric's (NYSE:GE) NBC Universal. However, the DOJ said Comcast must relinquish management of Hulu, the online video distributor, and the FCC included a number of restrictions as well.
Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) descended 8% after revealing weaker-than-expected non-GAAP EPS of 19 cents. Analysts had been calling for EPS of 24 cents. The No. 2 U.S. airliner said its operating revenue advanced 14% to $7.79 billion, beating the Street’s view, but operating expenses rose 9% to $644 million, led by a 39% increase in maintenance.
Smith & Nephew (NYSE:SNN) rallied nearly 4% to 52-week highs after the U.K.’s Sunday Times reported Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is considering a new buyout bid worth at least 800 pence a share for Europe’s No. 1 replacement joint company. The bid would value Smith & Nephew at $11.3 billion and come after a tentative approach was rebuffed last year.
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) revealed it plans to auction off its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Food Restaurant brands because it doesn't believe they fit into its long-term growth strategy. The parent of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell said it doesn't see a material impact from the eventual sale.
TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) grew its fiscal first-quarter profits by 6.5% to 25 cents a share, matching Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue rose 5% to $656.2 million, topping forecasts. Total client assets jumped 21% to a new record of $386 billion.
Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) posted an in-line 33% rise in non-GAAP earnings to 10 cents a share. The online brokerage's revenue increased 14% to $1.13 billion, narrowly exceeding expectations.
Walt Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ABC network is losing veteran broadcaster Regis Philbin, who announced plans to retire from “Life With Regis and Kelly” after 25 years. Philbin said he will step down around the end of the summer.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 1.18% to 6056.43, Germany's DAX jumped 0.92% to 7143.45 and France's CAC 40 rallied 0.94% to 4012.68.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 inched up 0.15% to 10519, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.01% to 24154 and China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.09% to 2708.98.