Friday, April 24, 2009

US Stocks End Higher As Investors Cheer Strong Results, Ford Jumps

. Friday, April 24, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stocks finished with gains on Friday as investors cheered better than expected results at Ford, Microsoft and American Express. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 119.23 points or 1.50% to finish at 8,076.29. The S&P 500 gained 14.31 points or 1.68% to end at 866.23. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 42.08 points or 2.55% to 1,694.29.
Federal regulators on Friday unveiled the broad they used to assess the financial health of the nation’s 19 biggest banks on Friday, but gave little details to distinguish a weak bank from the strong one.

Among financials, American Express (NYSE: AXP) jumped $4.33 or 20.65% to $25.30. The credit card giant said on Thursday that its first quarter profit plunged $437 million, or 31 cents a share, from $991 million, or 85 cents, during the same quarter a year ago. Revenue totaled $5.9 billion, down 18% from a year ago. Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) climbed $1.31 or 6.52% to $21.40. Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) rose 28 cents or 3.17% to $9.10.

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) soared 51 cents or 11.36% to $5 after it reported first quarter results that topped estimates. Net loss totaled $1.8 billion, or 75 cents a share, compared to net income of $477 million, or 20 cents a share, in the prior year period. Revenue declined to $24.8 billion from $39.2 billion.

Late on Thursday, Microsoft Corp.'s (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced that its fiscal third-quarter net income fell 32% to $3 billion, or 33 cents a share, down from $4.39 billion, or 47 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue slipped to $13.65 billion from $14.45 billion. Shares of the software giant surged $1.99 or 10.52% to $20.91. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) advanced $3.85 or 4.78% to $84.46 after it reported that its first quarter profit jumped 24% to $177 million, or 41 cents a share, from $143 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue increased 18% to $4.89 billion.

3M Co.(NYSE: MMM) said that its first-quarter net income slumped to $518 million, or 74 cents a share, from $1 billion, or $1.38 a share, in the comparable period last year. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 81 cents a share. Revenue dropped 21.3% to $5.1 billion from $6.5 billion. Shares of company finished at $57, up $2.79 or 5.15%.

Shares of Xerox Corp. (NYSE: XRX) gained 21 cents or 3.66% to close at $5.95 after it said that it swung to a first-quarter profit of $42 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a loss of $244 million, or 27 cents a share, in year-ago quarter. Revenue decreased 18 percent to $3.55 billion from $4.34 billion.

Better than expected data also boosted stocks. A release by Department of Commerce showed that orders for durable goods fell 0.8% in March. Economists on average had projected a decline of 1.5%.

According to U.S. Census Bureau, builders sold 356,000 new single-family homes in March, down 30.6% from a year ago and 0.6% from previous month.

European stocks settled with gains. The U.K. FTSE jumped 137.76 points or 3.43% to 4,155.99. The German DAX and French CAC increased 3% and 3.13% respectively.

Asian stocks finished mixed. The Nikkei 225 fell 139.02 points or 1.57% to 8,707.99. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong rose 44.39 points or 0.29% to 15,258.85.

NYMEX crude oil for May delivery climbed $1.93 or 3.9% to settle at $51.55 a barrel.
Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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