Investors sure had a sweet tooth yesterday, buying up stocks and pushing the Dow Industrials up almost 200 points. European debt worries faded thanks to a surprise jump in German business confidence and a solid Spanish debt auction, allowing investors to turn their focus to positive U.S. earnings reports.
Stocks are taking a breather early Wednesday, though, with Dow futures down about 30 points.
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Tuesday's rally was broad-based, with all 10 S&P sectors finishing higher, and nine rallying at least 1%. A whopping 472 of the S&P 500 stocks ended to the upside, and more than one-quarter gained at least 2% Tuesday.
Investors today turn their attention to a trio of tech companies that reported earnings last night: Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC).
Yahoo shares are adding 3.4% in the pre-market, on the heels of last night's numbers and after Barclays Capital lifted its price target on Yahoo to $20 from $18, citing significant cost savings from recent layoff announcements. Yahoo shares closed at $15.01. The tech giant also reported its first revenue increase in more than three years.
Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKA) shares are slumping after its chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, announced he has stage one prostate cancer. The 81-year-old will undergo radiation treatments this summer.
In typical Buffett style, he wrote in a letter to shareholders: "I will let shareholders know immediately should my health situation change. Eventually, of course, it will; but I believe that day is a long way off."
Meanwhile, a sweet indulgence may have a bitter ending. A professor at the University of Sydney says that chocolate prices may increase because the raw ingredient, cacao, is in short supply. Instability and lack of modernization in producing regions like West Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia may take a bite out of your wallet. He predicts that producers must increase supply by a quarter over the next 8 years to keep pace with the world's growing sweet tooth.
Delta (NYSE:DAL) is trying to push through another round of airfare hikes, raising its domestic fares by $10 to $20 roundtrip for last-minute bookings, or those within seven days of departure. If the other carriers match Delta's increase, it would be the fourth successful industry-wide airfare hike this year. Domestic fares have increased about 5% since January.