US stocks end higher but Twitter, Apple stifle gains
NEW YORK–US stocks finished mostly higher Thursday but Apple’s selloff left the Nasdaq in the red and NYSE-traded Twitter’s unintentional early earnings release held back overall gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 72.17 points (0.40 percent) at 18,110.14.
The broader S&P 500 rose 5.84 (0.28 percent) to 2,114.76, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gave up 4.82 (0.10 percent) at 5,055.42.
The market recovered after an early downturn that followed an unexpected and sharp fall in the April consumer confidence index from the Conference Board.
Twitter shares plunged 18.2 percent in the final hour of trade as its first-quarter revenue of $436 million came in well below the expected $456 million. Its net loss increased 22.7 percent from a year ago to $162.4 million.
Twitter called the early release of the results, about half hour before the markets closed instead of their scheduled release after the close, a “leak” but it was not clear whether the company itself, or someone else, was the source.
“We asked the NYSE to halt trading once we discovered our Q1 earnings numbers had leaked, and published our results as soon as possible,” Twitter said.
“We are investigating the source of the leak.”
Shares of Apple, the world’s largest company by market value, sank 1.6 percent despite its strong China-driven results released late Monday, with quarterly revenues up 27 percent.
Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.com noted that Apple shares had climbed 6.0 percent over the previous six market sessions.
“If Apple has anything truly working against it, we’d have to say it is the high expectations the company faces that are starting to rub up against the law of large numbers,” he said.
Merck though held up the Dow with a 5.0 percent gain, impressing investors as sales and profits in the first quarter, though lower than a year ago, beat analyst expectations. Adjusted earnings per share came in at 85 cents, 11 cents above forecasts.
The company raised its full-year adjusted earnings per share forecast to $3.35-$3.48, slightly better than the previous guidance.
Microsoft (+2.3 percent), IBM (+1.9 percent) and Intel (+1.6 percent) also propped up the blue-chip index.
Dow member Pfizer dipped 0.3 percent after cutting its 2015 full-year forecast, citing a hit from the stronger dollar.
Among other companies reporting results Tuesday: Ford rose 1.0 percent, Bristol Myers Squibb lost 1.0 percent, UPS gained 3.4 percent and Coach lost 6.3 percent.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.97 percent from 1.93 percent Monday, while the 30-year rose to 2.67 percent from 2.61 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely.
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