After Market: A Mixed Bag of Economic Reports Lifts Stocks

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The bulls outran the bears in the final hour of trading Friday, allowing the major stock indexes to snap their two-day losing streaks. Economic data was mixed. The headline on the housing front was good -- housing starts rose to their highest level in five months. But multi-family homes drove those construction gains, suggesting rentals will dominate and buyers will remain scarce. Another downer for the markets -- consumer sentiment slipped in May.

Nevertheless, when all was said and done the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 44 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 7, about 0.3 percent each, while the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 21 points, more than 0.5 percent.

Among the stocks to watch: General Motors (GM). Its shares closed slightly lower despite being hit with another fine. It agreed to pay $35 million on top of the roughly $1.5 billion it has already put aside to settle charges related to its ignition switch recall.

And Pfizer (PFE) was up fractionally -- about 0.2 percent, on news that it has jumped another hurdle on the path to getting FDA approval for its experimental breast cancer drug, Palbociclib.

Verizon (VZ) got a boost from an endorsement from superstar investor Warren Buffett. Its stock rose more than 2 percent. A regulatory filing revealed his Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A) bought 11 million shares of the telecom giant.

Darden Restaurants (DRI) didn't have such a good day. Its stock fell more than 4 percent after it agreed to sell its struggling Red Lobster chain to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.

And among retailers, there were a few standouts: J.C. Penney (JCP) had a stellar day. Its stock was up more than 16 percent. Sales beat expectations and its quarterly loss was lower than anticipated. It got the thumbs up from at least six brokerages that raised their price targets on the stock. Over the past year, though, the stock is down almost 50 percent.

Nordstrom (JWN) was also en vogue on Friday. Shares were up more than 14 percent after it beat the Street's estimates on earnings.

Other than that, it was a light day for earnings. More than 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have handed in their report cards for the first quarter. The vast majority have beaten expectations.

Finally, this could be a buzz kill for those investing in legal marijuana stocks. The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an alert Friday warning of the high potential for fraud, and put investments in them in the same category as bitcoin and other digital currencies. The bottom line: Think twice before you light up on pot stocks.

What to Watch Monday:

These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
  • Campbell Soup (CPB)
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN)
-Produced by Karina Huber.


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Iselin007

Many apartments are used to sublet to others illegally. O'boy do the owners of these complexs have problems. Currently over occupation is filling the needs of many unauthorized individuals. The structures often become trashed or burn an then the people move on to the next place.

May 16 2014 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Buyers of single family homes will be scarce because jobs are too few and under paid for the majority of the declining classes. Soon if your not a genius you will be regarded as having no value. Prices have risen for many things over the years but wages have gone in the opposite direction for a large part of the people. Your never going to have a majority of genius's nor openings for such in the job market.

May 16 2014 at 8:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Some Business leader said today this is part of an 8 to 10 year cycle ,what?Somebody planned this messed?

May 16 2014 at 8:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
thefacts22

A mixed bag,of economic confusion/made possible that speculators kept feeding a collapsing Market.Since we are in debt up to our ears,do not manufacture much of anything,i would called a "miracle"

May 16 2014 at 6:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to thefacts22's comment
Iselin007

The changing world and higher population is destabilizing economies with different rules, and currency markets. Business is playing against the labor force and nation against nation. Productivy will reach that of sweatshops an still the masters will not be pleased! People will start aging faster with earlier physical problems as they are worked like expendable pions for maximum gain. No wonder some are not satisfied their greed goes beyond reason and capitalism. You can't have a stable society where people are tossed like garbage once they are broken or used up.

May 16 2014 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply