Sunday, May 10, 2009

US Stocks: Weekly Round Up (May 4-8)

. Sunday, May 10, 2009

By stockOzone team

US stock indices finished with weekly gains after stress test results and stronger than expected data fueled hopes of economic recovery. For the week, Dow was up 362.24 points or 4.22%. S&P climbed 51.71 points or 5.89%, while Nasdaq Composite settled with a weekly gain of 24.91 points or 1.47%.

A Labor Department release on Friday showed the economy shed 539,000 jobs in April. Economists expected payrolls to drop 600,000. The unemployment rate shot up to 25 year high of 8.9% in April from 8.5% in March. Economists had projected a reading of 8.9%.
Labor Department of Labor on Thursday said that number of Americans filing first- time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 34,000 to 601,000 in the week ending May 2. Economists expected jobless claims to rise to 635,000. ADP survey on Wednesday reported that a total of 491,000 private-sector jobs were lost in April. Economists had projected a drop of 645,000 private sector jobs.A release by the Institute for Supply Management, showed non-manufacturing index improved to 43.7% from 40.8% in March. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said that total US construction spending unexpectedly rose by 0.3% in March, the first gain in six month. Economists were expecting total construction spending to fall 1.5%. According to the National Association of Realtors, pending sales of U.S. existing homes jumped 3.2% in March to 84.6. Economists anticipated a reading of 82.1.

In a speech, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that the recent data suggest that the pace of contraction may be slowing, and include some tentative signs that final demand, especially demand by households, may be stabilizing. The housing market, which has been in decline for three years, has also shown some signs of bottoming, Bernanke added.

Late on Thursday, federal regulators released the much anticipated result of stress tests on the health of the 19 largest US banks. According to the stress test results, 10 institutions have been asked to raise $74.6 billion in private capital.

Almost all the major US banks are expected to conmfortably fill the gap in their balance sheet.

On the earnings front, American International Group (NYSE: AIG) on Thursday reported that its first-quarter net loss narrowed to $4.35 billion, or $1.98 a share, from a net loss of $7.81 billion, or $3.09 a share, in the corresponding quarter last year.

General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced that its first quarter loss widened to $6 billion, or $9.78 a share, from a loss of $3.3 billion, or $5.80 a share in the year earlier period. On an adjusted basis, net loss totaled $9.66 a share compared to a year-ago loss of 67 cents a share. Revenue nearly halved to $22.4 billion from $42.4 billion.

Late on Wednesday, networking giant Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) reported that fiscal third-quarter profit fell to $1.35 billion, or 23 cents a share, from $1.77 billion, or 29 cents a share, in the corresponding quarter a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 30 cents a share. Revenue declined to $8.16 billion from $9.79 billion.

Late on Tuesday, Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) said that its fiscal second-quarter profit plunged 46% to $613 million, or 33 cents a share, from $1.13 billion, or 58 cents a share, in the prior year quarter. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 43 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue decreased 7% to $8.1 billion.

Early on Tuesday, Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT) announced that its first-quarter profit jumped 10% to $660 million, or 45 cents a share, from $599 million, or 39 cents a share, in the prior year quarter. Quarterly revenue declined 6.5% to $9.4 billion from $10.05 billion. Shares of the company rallied 96 cents or 3.96% to end at $25.22.

Disclosure: Author does not own any of the stocks discussed here.

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