A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Rally to Record on Earnings Surprises: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock gauges closed at record highs on the back of better-than-forecast earnings while the dollar strengthened and Treasury yields dipped.

The S&P 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite marked new milestones as Twitter, Lockheed Martin and Hasbro climbed following favorable first-quarter reports, adding to a rally led by the biggest technology companies. The gains cap a momentous run for U.S. equities, with the larger gauge of U.S. stocks up 25 percent from a low reached on Christmas Eve.

U.S. Stocks Rally to Record on Earnings Surprises: Markets Wrap

Investors found fresh catalysts to buy Tuesday as earnings season gathered steam with a slew of major releases due this week. So far, almost 80 percent of S&P 500 companies reporting results have exceeded estimates. Traders are also focused on the U.S. 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.

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.”

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose as many markets reopened following the long Easter weekend. The pound weakened as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confronted further challenges to her leadership. The greenback reached a six-week high.

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 extended the previous session’s gains after the U.S. announced a tougher crackdown on supply from Iran.

Here are some notable events coming up:

  • A Who’s Who of the tech world reports this week, with Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Tesla among the heavy hitters on tap. European bank earnings kick into full gear with reports from Deutsche Bank, UBS, Barclays and Swedbank.
  • The Bank of Japan, Bank of Canada, Bank of Russia, Sweden’s Riksbank and Bank of Indonesia set monetary policy.
  • Germany’s IFO data is released Wednesday.
  • Japan’s Shinzo Abe meets leaders of the European Union Thursday before flying to the U.S. for a summit with President Donald Trump.
  • The initial print on first-quarter U.S. GDP Friday will be closely watched for clues as to how the economy responded to the government shutdown and fallout from the fourth-quarter market rout.

These are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.9 percent at the close of trading in New York.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.2 percent.
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 0.2 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced 0.4 percent to the highest in six weeks.
  • The euro declined 0.3 percent to $1.1222.
  • The Japanese yen gained 0.1 percent to 111.83 per dollar.
  • The British pound fell 0.3 percent to $1.294.

Bonds

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

Commodities

  • West Texas oil rose 0.9 percent to $66.30 a barrel.
  • Copper fell 0.2 percent to $2.902 a pound.
  • Gold declined 0.2 percent to $1,272.34 an ounce, near a four-month low.

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