(Bloomberg)
(Bloomberg)

US markets approach record on earnings surprises

  • The S&P 500 Index topped its all-time closing high on the back of better-than-forecast earnings
  • West Texas oil rose 0.7% to $66.16 a barrel. Copper fell 0.2% to $2.9015 a pound

The S&P 500 Index topped its all-time closing high on the back of better-than-forecast earnings while the dollar strengthened and Treasury yields dipped.

The gauge extended its advance past 2,931 as Twitter, Lockheed Martin and Hasbro climbed following favorable first-quarter reports, adding to a rally led by the biggest technology companies. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose as many markets reopened following the long Easter weekend. The pound weakened as UK Prime Minister Theresa May confronted further challenges to her leadership. The greenback reached a six-week high.

US stocks are on the verge of a fresh record and trading at the steepest valuation since September as earnings season gathers pace this week with a slew of major releases. So far, almost 80% of S&P 500 companies reporting results have exceeded estimates. Traders will also be focused on the US economy, as first-quarter gross domestic product data is due Friday. Worries over Brexit rumble on in the background, and trade spats between the world’s top economies remain unresolved.

(Bloomberg)

Investors are cheering “a really great string of earnings reports, most of them outpacing expectations, as well as some pretty good commentary on future estimates from CEOs," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Weeden. “There’s quite a bit of positivity carrying this to new highs."

In Asia, trading volumes were below average ahead of Japan’s Golden Week extended holiday. Equities climbed in Tokyo and slipped in Shanghai. Sri Lankan stocks slumped and bonds fell for a second day after terror attacks on Easter Sunday killed more than 300 people.

Elsewhere, copper dropped alongside most metals and oil held on to the previous session’s gains after the US announced a tougher crackdown on supply from Iran.

These are the main market moves:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.9% as of 12:37 pm in New York. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2%. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.2%. The MSCI Emerging Market Index was little changed.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.4% to the highest in six weeks. The euro declined 0.4% to $1.1215. The Japanese yen gained 0.1% to 111.84 per dollar. The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.2943.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries decreased two basis points to 2.57%. Germany’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to 0.04%. Britain’s 10-year yield rose three basis points to 1.22%.

Commodities

West Texas oil rose 0.7% to $66.16 a barrel. Copper fell 0.2% to $2.9015 a pound. Gold declined 0.2% to $1,272.19 an ounce, near a four-month low.

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