Tech earnings help stocks end week with solid gain
(AP) – A big earnings miss from Caterpillar Friday wasn’t enough to derail a rally that pushed the stock market up 2 percent for the week.
Caterpillar Inc. fell nearly 6 percent after the heavy equipment maker earned less than analysts were expecting last quarter, partly because of the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan. The company is seen as a bellwether for the global economy because it sells construction and mining machinery all over the world.
The disappointing results from Caterpillar and a continuing deadlock over raising the U.S. borrowing limit capped the stock market’s gains. Overseas markets rose after European leaders reached a deal late Thursday aimed at containing the region’s debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 43.25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,681.16. Even with the decline, the Dow gained 1.6 percent for the week. It has finished three out of the last four weeks higher than where it started.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 1.22, or 0.1 percent, to 1,345.02. It finished the week with a gain of 2.2 percent.
Energy, technology and consumer discretionary companies were the only three of the 10 industries tracked by the S&P 500 that rose. That was still enough to push the broad market index higher.
Consumer discretionary companies include retailers like Amazon Inc. and restaurant chains like McDonalds Corp. McDonald’s rose 2 percent, the most of any stock in the Dow average, after its income and revenue came in higher than analysts were expecting due to strong sales in Europe.
Technology stocks rose broadly after Advanced Micro Devices Inc. reported strong second-quarter earnings and said its new computer graphics chip was selling well. The Nasdaq composite index rose 24.40 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,858.83.
AMD jumped 19 percent. Flash memory card maker SanDisk Corp. rose 10 percent after its earnings rose sharply. Microsoft Corp. gained 1.6 percent after beating analyst’s income estimates.
Oil services company Schlumberger Ltd. rose 3 percent after its profits increased on a pickup in drilling in North America.
Traders kept close watch on negotiations in Washington over a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline. The impasse has overshadowed an agreement in Europe Thursday to give Greece a second financial lifeline and broaden the powers of a regional bailout fund.
Concerns are spreading that the U.S. debt ceiling won’t be raised before the deadline, said Brian Gendreau, market strategist for Cetera Financial Group. “But the background is a growing economy and fairly strong earnings news.”
Strong earnings from Apple Inc., Coca-Cola Co. and IBM Corp. helped send stocks higher this week. The Dow gained 202 points on Tuesday, its biggest one-day jump of the year, after President Obama backed a proposal by six senators that would cut the country’s debt by $3.7 trillion over the next decade and raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
Rising and falling shares were about even on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lighter than average at 3.3 billion shares.