S&P 500 Extends Record on Facebook Rally; Dow Is Little Changed

Jul 24, 2014 4:41 pm ET

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index extended a record as Facebook Inc. rallied on higher revenue, and growth in global manufacturing offset a drop in home sales. Caterpillar Inc. sank on a disappointing forecast, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average little changed.

Facebook jumped 5.2 percent to a record after saying second-quarter sales surged 61 percent. Under Armor Inc. surged 15 percent after increasing its 2014 profit target. Caterpillar sank 3.1 percent after forecasting full-year profit that fell short of estimates. D.R. Horton Inc. plunged 12 percent to lead homebuilders lower. Amazon.com Inc. sank 6.2 percent in late trading after reporting a loss wider than analysts’ projected.

The S&P 500 added 0.1 percent to a record 1,987.98 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow average slipped 2.83 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 17,083.80. About 5.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges today, in line with the three-month average.

“Earnings are coming in better than expected and the market has taken a queue from that but the economy overall is kind of a mixed bag,” John Kvantas, director of equity research at USAA Investments, said in a phone interview. He helps oversee $63 billion in mutual fund assets. “Housing isn’t coming back and I think there was some hope for more improvement there.”

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent yesterday as Apple Inc. helped push technology companies higher, while health-care stocks rallied on earnings. The gauge has advanced 7.6 percent this year amid better-than-estimated corporate results and central- bank support. The index trades at 18.2 times the reported earnings of its members, the highest since 2010.

Data Watch

Global equities advanced today as data showed euro-area manufacturing and services grew in July while Chinese factory activity rose to an 18-month high. Economic reports in the U.S. were mixed, with fewer new U.S. homes sold in June than forecast while jobless claims unexpectedly fell.

U.S. equities pared gains in afternoon trading after Espirito Santo Financial Group SA, the owner of a 20.1 percent stake in Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo SA, sought protection from creditors. Global financial markets were roiled early this month on concern that the corporate debt troubles in Portugal could spread.

A Markit Economics Ltd. factory gauge for the U.S. unexpectedly declined to 56.3 in July from 57.3 the previous month. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

The International Monetary Fund lowered its outlook for global growth this year as expansions weaken from the U.S. to China and military conflicts raise the risk of a surge in oil prices.

Ukraine Sanctions

Investors are also weighing the threat of new European Union sanctions targeting Russia over the Krelmin’s actions in Ukraine. The EU is preparing to sanction top Russian security officials, including the chiefs of the main successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB and foreign intelligence, over the conflict in Ukraine, according to a draft document obtained by Bloomberg.

The U.S. is pushing Europe to toughen its stance toward President Vladimir Putin a week after the Malaysian jet was hit by a missile American officials say was probably fired from a Russian-supplied launcher. Russia denies involvement.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned after two parties quit the ruling coalition and President Petro Poroshenko signaled his support for early elections.

Fifty companies in the S&P 500 report earnings today. About 77 percent of those that have posted results this season have beaten analysts’ estimates for profit, while 64 percent exceeded sales projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Overbought Market

Profits at S&P 500 members probably rose 6.2 percent in the second quarter, while sales gained 3.3 percent, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“I’m quite impressed with the results I’ve seen till now,” said Pierre Mouton, who helps oversee $8 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “In most cases, we’ve had companies beating on revenues and earnings, and posting positive outlooks. I don’t think the market can go much higher in the short term because it’s overbought, but I don’t expect any meaningful correction.”

Six of the 10 main S&P 500 groups advanced today, with consumer shares advancing at least 0.3 percent to pace gains.

Facebook climbed 5.2 percent, the most since April, to $74.98. The operator of world’s biggest social network said mobile advertisements helped profit more than double as sales surged.

Tractor Supply Co. jumped 6.6 percent after releasing its financial results to help producers of consumer-discretionary products rally.

Zillow, Trulia

Under Armour surged 15 percent for the largest increase in the group. The maker of compression T-shirts and other athletic apparel raised its annual growth forecast. Nike Inc. jumped 1.6 percent for the biggest gain in the Dow.

Zillow Inc. jumped 15 percent and Trulia Inc. rallied 32 percent after a report said Zillow is seeking to acquire Trulia, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in a move to combine the two most-visited U.S. real estate websites.

Amazon.com sank 6.2 percent to $336.35. The world’s largest online retailer reported its biggest quarterly loss since 2012 as Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos builds more distribution warehouses, adds grocery deliveries and develops new smartphones and tablets. The shares closed 0.1 percent higher today.

Industrial stocks slid 0.5 percent to pace declines in the S&P 500. Precision Castparts sank 5.5 percent for the biggest loss after reporting profit and sales that missed estimates.

Caterpillar tumbled 3.1 percent, the most since May and the biggest decline in the Dow. The largest maker of mining machinery forecast full-year sales and earnings that fell short of analysts’ estimates as it said there’s no sign of an upturn in the industry in 2014.

Housing Drop

Housing shares plunged, with an S&P index of home builders sinking 4.9 percent for its biggest drop in a year. Meritage Homes Corp. sank 3.9 percent and Toll Brothers Inc. slid 4.1 percent as all 11 members of the index retreated

D.R. Horton dropped 12 percent for the biggest loss and its worst day since November 2009. The largest U.S. homebuilder by revenue said its fiscal-third quarter earnings declined as the company’s sales margin shrank.

Airline stocks slumped, as a third fatal airline crash in the past week left 2014 on track for the worst year in almost a decade for passenger fatalities.

United Continental Holdings Inc. slid 2.4 percent and American Airlines Group Inc. lost 2.7 percent even as the two carriers disclosed dividends earlier in the day.

The disappearance of a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 aircraft on the fringes of the Sahara desert today follows the loss of an ATR-72 turboprop in storms in Taiwan yesterday and the downing of Malaysian Air Flight MH17 over Ukraine last week.

AT&T, Qualcomm

AT&T Inc. fell 1.1 percent. The second-largest U.S. wireless carrier fell short of earnings estimates as more customers started paying for devices with installment plans, an option that’s reducing profits as it cuts monthly service bills.

Qualcomm Inc. dropped 6.7 percent. The chipmaker projected that net income in the current quarter that will fall short of the average analyst estimate. The company cited challenges to its technology-licensing business in China.

TripAdvisor Inc. slumped 5.2 percent. The online travel service posted second-quarter adjusted earnings of 55 cents a share, missing the 61-cent projection of analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index slipped 1.4 percent after four days of gains. Celgene Corp. lost 3.3 percent as its 2014 profit forecast fell short of the average analyst estimate.

Puma Biotechnology Inc. slid 8.8 percent after yesterday surging 295 percent following a successful medical trial. Adage Capital Management LP, the Boston hedge fund started by two former money managers at Harvard University’s endowment, made almost $1 billion yesterday on its 19 percent stake in the company.

--With assistance from Namitha Jagadeesh in London.