Apr 25, 2008

US Market posted healthy gains today

25 Apr 2008 | 09:01 Healthy gains for US Market

US Market posted healthy gains today,

Thursday, 24 April, 2008 after a few surprises in the earnings front and also after crude oil price slipped substantially lower. Six of the ten major economic sectors ended the session with gains. The financial posted the largest gain while energy posted the largest loss.

Apple and Qualcomm reported soft earning outlooks after yesterdays close. Market made a slow start but the picked up momentum.

The market traded in red during almost the entire first half. It reversed course during lunch hours and was up by 112 points at one time. At the end, The Dow Jones industrial Average ended with a gain of 85 points at 12,849. The Nasdaq Composite Index, finished higher by 23 points at 2,428. S&P 500 finished higher by 9 points at 1,388.

Twenty-three out of thirty Dow components ended in the green today with AIG and Citigroup being the top winners. General Motors also provided strong support after the stock rose more than 5% after Ford declared a profit at its latest quarter. But 3M shares fell though the company beat expectations in its earnings.

Economic reports dominated the day together with the earning reports. Jobless claims came in at 342,000 for the week ending 19 April, which was below the 375,000 claims expected. Claims for the prior week were revised up from 372,000 to 375,000.

New home sales totaled 526,000 during March, declining 8.5% month-over-month. Market expected sales of 580,000 units for the month. Sales in the prior month declined 5.3% month-over-month to a revised 575,000 units.

On the other hand, durable goods orders for March slipped 0.3%, but climbed 1.5% when excluding transportation. Excluding transportation, market predicted orders during March would climb by 0.5%. February's orders were revised from a decline of 1.7% to a decline of 0.9%. Excluding transportation, February's orders were revised from a 2.6% downturn to a less severe 2.1% downturn.

Crude prices closed substantially lower today after the dollar rallied against its rivals. Price also fell today after the Energy Department reported last week that crude inventory rose last week for the week that ended on Friday, 18 April, 2008. Crude-oil futures for light sweet crude for June delivery closed at $116.06/barrel (lower by $2.23/barrel or 1.9%) on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices traded in the lower range throughout the day. It fell to a low of $114.5/barrel during intra day trading.

In the currency market today, the dollar extended gains on its major counterparts after less hawkish comments from European Central Bank officials. ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said that he's concerned about recent sharp fluctuations in exchange rates. The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of major currencies, rallied 1.2% to 72.65.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange neared 4.4 billion shares, and advancing issues outpaced those on the decline 3 to 2. On the Nasdaq, 2.3 billion shares traded hands, and advancing stocks ran ahead of those declining 9 to 5.

For tomorrow, the only item on the economic calendar is the revised April Michigan Sentiment Index at 10:00 AM ET. Other than that, there will be a number of earning reports on the dock.