S&P 500 Flirts With Record High on Upbeat Earnings

April 25, 2019 Updated: April 25, 2019

The S&P 500 was within striking distance of its all-time high on April 23 as better-than-expected results from Twitter and a host of industrial companies eased concerns about slowing corporate profits.

The benchmark was just 0.4% away from an intra-day record high of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21. The index breached its record closing high of 2,930.75.

Twitter Inc. shares surged 16.6%, touching a near nine-month high after the social media company posted a better-than-expected quarterly revenue and a surprise rise in monthly active users.

Another big gainer was Lockheed Martin Corp., whose shares jumped 6.5% after it reported upbeat quarterly results and lifted its full-year profit forecast on strong demand for its missiles and fighter jets.

Amazon.com Inc., set to report results later this week, gained 1.8%, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Profits at S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.3% in the first quarter, in what analysts say could be the first earnings contraction since 2016. However, forecasts have largely improved since the start of April.

“There has been concern about a synchronized global slowdown in some of these more cyclical companies, like industrials, so we’re seeing some earnings which is soothing concerns,” said Jeff Zipper managing director of Investments at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Palm Beach, Florida.

“With a lowered bar coming into this earnings, we’re seeing some decent earnings and that is helping keep markets where it is.”

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with a rebound in healthcare stocks, which gained 1.6%, providing the biggest boost.

Coca-Cola Co rose 1.9% after its quarterly sales beat estimates, helped by strong demand for low-sugar Coke Zero, new orange-vanilla cola, and flavored waters.

Boosting the tech stocks, Qualcomm Inc. jumped 5.1% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the chipmaker to “overweight” from “equal-weight”.

Aerospace supplier United Technologies Corp. rose 2.4% after it raised full-year profit forecasts.

Among decliners, Procter & Gamble Co. fell 2.5% after its quarterly EBIT margin missed estimates, despite reporting better-than-expected quarterly results.

Verizon Communications Inc. dropped 2.2% after the U.S. wireless carrier lost more phone subscribers than analysts had expected.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.48-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 60 new highs and 34 new lows.

By Sruthi Shankar & Amy Caren Daniel