Stocks Close Higher as Earnings Dictate Momentum

Michael Teague |

Wall Street saw stocks higher by Friday’s closing bell, with all indices gaining modestly and the Standard & Poor’s 500 closing out the week on yet another record-high, and the Nasdaq scooted closer to 4,000.

The S&P 500 was up 0.44 percent to 1,759.76, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.39 percent to finish at 15,570.28, and the NASDAQ rose to 3,943.36 points on a gain of 0.37 percent.

Data from the Commerce Department showed that substantial gains in US durable goods orders for the month of September were largely due to a nearly 60 percent increase in the typically volatile transportation space. The core-goods category that excludes military and aircraft orders from the total had declined over one percent during the month; however, as many businesses tightened spending in anticipation of the government shutdown and subsequent fears of a US debt-default.

At the same time, the University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment plunged from an August reading of 77.5 to 73.2 in September, its lowest of 2013. Both data sets can be seen as different ways to gauge the real-life consequences of the strict partisan duality that continues to manifest in Washington, D.C.

Tech shares traded higher throughout the day, a mostly earnings-based phenomenon driven by Microsoft (MSFT) who surprised investors with an excellent and unexpected Q3 earnings statement, along with Zynga (ZNGA) . Both companies were trading 7 percent higher ahead of the closing bell.



Amazon.com (AMZN) made a thrilling advance on its own earnings report, adding over 8 percent throughout the day and inching ever closer to the $400-mark as the tech giant disguised as a mail order house showed continued growth in sales and overall market-share.

Healthcare stocks made news as well, with shares trading over 6 percent higher for micro- cap drug manufacturer Dynavax (DVAX) , while Healthways Inc. (HWAY) tanked after its Q3 statement provided yet another catalyst the stock’s sharp decline that began in early September. The privately-owned healthcare exchange eHealth Inc. (EHTH) saw shares jump some 15 percent in midday trading despite a non-descript balance sheet for its Q3, with the gains attributed to perceived opportunities for the company to take advantage of the botched roll-out of the Healthcare.gov site over the past weeks.

In basic materials, number-three US metals & minerals miner Cliff’s Natural Resources (CLF) was trading over 6 percent higher throughout the day as its balance sheet for the recently-ended period showed impressive year-over-year increase in profits despite coming up short on Street expectations.

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
DVAX Dynavax Technologies Corporation 6.05 0.00 0.00 1,050,299 Trade
AMZN Amazon.com Inc. 876.34 2.02 0.23 2,762,730 Trade
ZNGA Zynga Inc. 2.88 0.05 1.77 22,847,965 Trade
CLF Cliffs Natural Resources Inc 8.27 0.04 0.49 13,419,604 Trade
EHTH eHealth Inc. 11.63 0.09 0.78 73,819 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 65.71 0.24 0.37 15,122,823 Trade
HWAY Healthways Inc. n/a n/a n/a n/a
EGML Egm International Inc n/a n/a n/a 0

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