The CBOE Volatility Index dropped beneath 15 and Wall Street extended the rebound of last Friday as companies like Caterpillar (CAT) and Halliburton (HAL), whose earnings are often seen as being intertwined with global growth, reporting how much they made.
Caterpillar came in far short of expectations in both earnings and revenues, but the company was saved by the announcement of the resumption of a $1 billion share buyback program, ending the day with a gain of nearly 3 percent to close at $82.81 per share.
Halliburton reported a decline in North American revenue that was far surpassed by a 21 percent increase in sales abroad, along with the announcement that it was settling out of court a substantial majority of litigation brought against it as a result of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. The company was up 5.70 percent to $39.33 at the close of trading.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported a 0.6 percent decrease in existing home sales, though the organization’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said that demand is currently outpacing supply, with buyer traffic “25 percent above one year ago when we were already seeing notable gains in shopping activity”.
The S&P 500 was up nearly half a percent to 1,562.50 with help from Netflix (NFLX), up 6.73 percent to close at $174.37 on heightened anticipation of the company’s earnings statement, due out after the close. Shares for Microsoft (MSFT), who reported better than expected earnings last week, jumped 3.91 percent to $30.94 following the news that activist hedge fund ValueAct had taken a $2 billion ownership position in the company.
The Dow edged up 0.14 percent to close at 14,567.17 on the strength of tech stocks including, aside from Microsoft, Intel (INTC) up 1.8 percent to $22.84, AT&T (T) up 1.04 percent to $38.68, Cisco Systems (CSCO) up 0.88 percent to $20.64, and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) up 0.84 percent to $19.73.
International Business Machines (IBM) and McDonald’s Corp (MCD) both extended their losses from last week into Monday.
On the Nasdaq, Lululemon Athletica (LULU) almost regained the share price it had lost as a result of last month’s recall of one its varieties of its extremely popular yoga pants, ending the day at $73.99 on an increase of 8.20 percent.
Other notable gains were posted by toy-maker Hasbro (HAS), up 3.41 percent to $46.56, as the company narrowly beat earnings expectations and was up 25 percent on the prior-year period. Dish Network (DISH) closed at a gain of nearly 3 percent to $40.16 as investors await Sprint Nextel’s (S) response to the company’s buyout offer.