Markets rally again as earnings fuel optimism

Randall Jensen and Sarah Ponczek
Bloomberg News

U.S. stocks rallied for a second day amid better-than-expected earnings from industry heavyweights, adding to evidence that the strengthening economy is lifting corporate profits.

The S&P 500 Index rose to the highest in four weeks as the benchmark pushed through its average price for the past 100 days, a level it hasn’t crossed in a month.

Netflix Inc. surged after subscriber growth topped estimates, helping to drive gains in technology shares, and UnitedHealth Group Inc. climbed after reporting strong results.

The spate of earnings overshadowed renewed machinations on the trade front, where China retaliated for the U.S.’s hit on ZTE Corp. with agricultural duties.

The world’s second-largest economy also said it will ease access to its market, boosting automakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc.

“Markets have tended to rally during earnings season and I think some of that optimism, some of the sentiment is coming through the market right now,” Matt Forester, chief investment officer who helps oversee $7.9 billion at Lockwood Advisors Inc. in King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania, said by phone.

The dollar largely shrugged off President Donald Trump’s latest intervention in currencies.

The jawboning comes at a time of already elevated geopolitical tension, and ongoing fears of a lurch toward global protectionism.

Meanwhile a slew of Federal Reserve officials is due to speak this week. Treasury yields edged lower and West Texas crude traded near $66 a barrel.

Elsewhere, U.K. wage growth including bonuses missed estimates and a survey showed German investor confidence tumbling, undermining both the pound and euro.

Asian equities headed for a higher start after strong earnings from some industry heavyweights lifted U.S. equities. Treasuries were little changed and the dollar edged higher.

Futures were up on equity indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Chinese stocks pointed to a rebound after a surprise move by the People’s Bank of China to cut the reserve requirement ratio to improve funding arrangements for banks.

Elsewhere, the yen was little changed after Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Morgan Stanley is among companies reporting results this week.

Here are the main moves in markets:


Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.3 percent. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.4 percent. Futures on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.2 percent. The S&P 500 Index increased 1.1 percent.


The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.1 percent. The euro bought $1.2370.The pound traded little changed at $1.4289.The yen was at 107.01 per dollar.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 2.83 percent.


West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7 percent to $66.67 a barrel. Gold was little changed at $1,347.25 an ounce.