After Market: Earnings-Boost Pushes S&P Up Most Since July


Earnings news dominates the action on Wall Street, with big moves by industry leaders IBM, UnitedHealth and General Electric.

Overall, the major averages edged mostly higher heading into the three-day weekend. U.S. financial markets are closed for Good Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost 16 points, but the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 2, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 9 points. The S&P and Nasdaq are now riding a four-day winning streak.

Here's the earnings scorecard, starting with some of the big names that beat expectations:
  • General Electric (GE) gained 2 percent. It's often considered a bellwether for the overall economy because of it's a leader in so many key sectors -- everything from jet engines to consumer finance.
  • In the financial sector, Morgan Stanley (MS) jumped 3 percent. Results top expectations and the company raised its dividend. Goldman Sachs (GS) edged slightly higher.
  • SanDisk (SNDK), which makes data storage equipment, jumped 9 percent.
  • PepsiCo (PEP) gained 1 percent. The company says its results support its opposition to an activist investor's call for the spin off of its food businesses.
On the downside:
  • IBM (IBM) fell 3 percent. Net was in line, but revenue fell short. Big Blue's sales have now declined for eight straight quarters.
  • Google (GOOG) fell 3.5 percent. Investors focused on the rising costs the company incurred and the drop in revenue per click for its ads.
  • UnitedHealth Group (UNH) fell 3 percent, blaming Obamacare and Medicare reimbursement rates for its disappointing numbers. That was a drag for rivals Aetna (AET), WellPoint (WLP) and Humana (HUM) -- all down 3 percent or more.
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) fell 6 percent despite good quarterly numbers. It's also raising prices and upping its outlook for the year.

The other big story was a pair of closely watched IPOs that were priced at the low end of expectations. Weibo, known as the Chinese Twitter, surged 23 percent from its $17 a share price, while Sabre, the airline reservation service, increased 4 percent.

Finally, Barnes & Noble (BKS) fell 12 percent as the company's chairman sold 3.7-million shares. Not a big vote of confidence in the troubled retailer.

What to Watch Friday:
  • U.S. financial markets are closed for Good Friday.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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