Stocks Post Moderate Gains Ahead of Alcoa’s Earnings Report

Michael Teague |

Stocks Post Moderate Gains Ahead of Alcoa’s Earnings ReportWall Street recovered ever so slightly on Monday ahead of aluminum manufacturer Alcoa, Inc.'s (AA) inaugural report of the first quarter earnings season.

The S&P clocked the highest gain at 0.63 percent, or 1,563.07 points, while the Nasdaq ended up 0.57 percent to 3,222.25, with the Dow gaining 0.33 percent to 14,613.48.

Last week was the worst so far for U.S. markets in 2013, end-capped by the Labor Department’s weak jobs report released on Friday.  There is significant anticipation about what sort of picture the slew of earnings statements that will begin coming out this week will likely paint of the slowly recovering U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, newly appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew started the week off in Europe bemoaning the consequences of the rather severe austerity policies that have reduced budget deficits of troubled countries such as Spain, Greece, Italy, and most recently Cyprus less than hoped for, while damaging economic growth.

The S&P was held up by WPX Energy, Inc. (WPX), up 5.45 percent to $17.03, who announced that its Niobara Shale well in the Piceance Basin in Western Colorado surpassed 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas production in a little over 100 days of pumping. Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) was up 3.18 percent to $115.12 after announcing that one week in, its new pumping operation at the Tamar gas field off the coast of Israel was producing 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

On the downside of the S&P was Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), with a loss of 1.66 percent to close at $95.96, while Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) lost 1.51 percent to close at $80.80.

The Dow was led up by Coca-Cola (KO), up 1.73 percent to $20.35, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) up 1.68 percent to $58.67 and Bank of America (BAC), up 1.67 percent to $12.17.  Alcoa ended the day with a gain of 1.33 percent, closing at $8.35, ahead of its highly anticipated earnings statement is released after closing.

Meanwhile the Dow was weighed down by tech stocks, including AT&T Inc. (T) down 1.21 percent to $37.56, followed by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), IBM Corp. (IBM), and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ).

Notable performances on the Nasdaq were put up by Lufkin Industries, the oil and gas services company, whose shares skyrocketed nearly 38 percent to $87.92 after it was announced that the company’s board had given the green light to a $3 billion acquisition by General Electric (GE).

News Corp. (NWSA) ended the day at a gain of 2.50 percent to $31.41 after being the first in a line of broadcast TV networks to threaten to move its programming to cable after a court ruling giving the small web-based company Aereo the right to rebroadcast content on the internet without paying the usual fees.

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
WPX WPX Energy Inc. 14.76 -0.14 -0.94 4,436,664
GE General Electric Co 31.73 0.20 0.63 20,755,840
TWC Time Warner Cable Inc n/a n/a n/a 0
JNJ Johnson & Johnson 112.17 1.18 1.06 4,243,526
AA Alcoa Inc. 31.96 0.65 2.08 3,030,796
IBM International Business Machines Corp 165.97 0.61 0.37 1,925,107
MRK34 Merck & Co. Inc 2.5% Eur Nt 2034 n/a n/a n/a 0
CSCO Cisco Systems Inc. 29.96 0.01 0.03 13,801,759
DIS Walt Disney Company (The) 104.02 0.64 0.61 8,214,205
VZ Verizon Communications Inc. 51.42 0.29 0.56 5,181,305
NWSA News Corporation 12.06 0.14 1.13 1,898,989
BAC Bank of America Corporation 23.06 0.11 0.46 97,545,049
HPQ HP Inc. 15.82 -0.34 -2.10 6,240,703
NBL Noble Energy Inc. 39.33 -0.24 -0.61 2,307,184
KO Coca-Cola Company (The) 41.99 1.01 2.45 20,765,207
T AT&T Inc. 40.25 -0.16 -0.40 10,366,514
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 61.87 0.86 1.41 15,189,020

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