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Market Wrap for October 24: Microsoft, Amazon Earnings Cheer Investors as Stocks Rally

Market Wrap for October 24: Microsoft, Amazon Earnings Cheer Investors as Stocks Rally
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Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Zynga (NASDAQ: ZNGA) were surging after hours as investors were cheered by their quarterly results.

The reports came after a decent stock market rally on Thursday and may give stocks a boost on Friday.

After Market Movers shares were up 7.46 percent to $357 after hours after rising 1.67 percent in regular trading to $332.31. If the gains hold on Friday, the stock would set a new high. Amazon said it lost 9 cents a share, but revenue was up more than 23% to $17.09 billion from a year ago.

Microsoft shares were up 5.37 percent to $35.53 after hours. The software giant said it earned 62 cents a share in the first-fiscal quarter, up from 53 cents a year ago and ahead of the Street estimate of 54 cents. The earnings growth came despite a 7 percent decline in sales of its flagship Windows operating system to manufacturers.

Zynga shares were up 10 percent to $3.89; they had topped $4. The game-maker reported a smaller than expected loss of 2 cents a share; Wall Street had expected a loss of 4 cents. Revenue was $154 million, ahead of the Street estimate of $143 million but down about 40 percent from a year ago. The shares closed at $3.54, down a penny.

The earnings reports came after the Dow Jones industrials gained 96 points, or 0.6 percent to 15,509. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 6 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,752. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 22 points, or 0.6%, to 3,928.

Major Indexes

The S&P 500 finished within three points of a new record close. The Nasdaq came within one point of a 13-year closing high. The indexes have risen for 10 of the last 12 days. The Dow has posted gains in eight of the last 12 days.

Thursday’s rally was fueled by decent earnings from Ford Motor (NYSE: F), 3M (NYSE: MMM) and homebuilder PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM). The outlooks from Ford and Pulte suggested to investors that economic worries may be overblown. Other homebuilding shares also rallied after the Pulte report.

Overseas Markets

In addition, Asian and European stocks were higher after Markit reported stronger than expected manufacturing strength in China.

Interest rates rose as investors pulled money out to buy into stocks. The 10-year Treasury yield finished at 2.522 percent, up from 2.485 percent on Wednesday. The dollar, however, was off slightly against major currencies.


Crude oil in New York settled up 1.22 percent to $97.11 a barrel, while gold traded up 1.22 percent to $1,350.80. Silver traded up 0.48 percent Thursday to $22.73, while copper fell 0.40 percent to $3.25.


European shares  were higher  today. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.54 percent, while Italy's FTSE MIB Index gained 0.46 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX climbed 0.61 percent and the French CAC 40 rose 0.18 percent while U.K. shares gained 0.57 percent.


US jobless claims declined by 12,000 to 350,000 in the week ended October 19. However, economists were projecting claims to drop to 340,000. The US trade deficit increased to $38.8 billion in August, versus a revised $38.6 billion in the previous month. However, economists were expecting the deficit to widen to $39.4 billion.

The preliminary reading of the Markit flash manufacturing PMI for the United States fell to 51.1 in October, versus a reading of 52.8 in September. However, economists were expecting a reading of 52.5.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined to -36.10 for the week ended October 20, versus a prior reading of -34.10.

The Kansas City Fed manufacturing index will be released at 11:00 a.m. ET.

The Treasury is set to auction 3-and 6-month bills. The Treasury will also auction 2-year, 5-year and 7-year notes. Data on money supply will be released at 4:30 p.m. ET.




Posted-In: Market WrapEarnings News Bonds Commodities Economics After-Hours Center Markets Best of Benzinga


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