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


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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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