U.S. stocks posted modest gains across the board, as the Nasdaq Composite eclipsed its March 2000 record closing high for the first time. While anyone who was actively trading back then can attest that "it's different this time," there was definitely a period during the financial crisis last decade where I doubted if we'd ever again see the 5,000 level on the Nasdaq in my lifetime.
At the closing bell, the Nasdaq gained 0.45% on the session, the S&P 500 gained 0.25% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved 0.15% higher. Telecom, utility and energy names led the way higher on Thursday. Elsewhere, crude oil added more than 2% to recent gains and the U.S. dollar index fell 0.65%.
On the busiest earnings day of the quarter, Skechers (SKX) was the big winner, moving more than 14% higher. The stock has now gained 57% year to date. AT&T (T) was the most actively traded name today and moved 4% higher, after posting its own solid earnings report. We have a position in Ma Bell in the model portfolio of the Dividend Stock Advisor newsletter (www.dividendstockadvisor.com) and continue to find the stock attractive to purchase at $34.23, for its 5.5% dividend yield.
Elsewhere, Arris (ARRS) added 22% to recent gains, after announcing a $2.1 billion acquisition of a U.K.-based company, with the intention of inverting its business for a more favorable tax treatment.
On the other hand, Pulte (PHM) dropped 8% and dragged the homebuilder sector down, after giving a lower earnings outlook. In addition, Texas Instruments (TXN) fell about 7%, on its own negative earnings revision.
In after-hours action, we generally saw a positive reaction to blue-chip earnings reports. Starbucks (SBUX) is trading 4% higher, followed by 3% for Microsoft (MSFT). Elsewhere, Google (GOOGL) moved 2% higher, followed by a fractional gain for Amazon.com (AMZN).
Looking ahead to Friday morning, Biogen (BIIB), Tyco (TYC) and Xerox (XRX) headline the earnings calendar. On the economic front, we'll get a look at the durable goods orders report, before the opening bell.
David Peltier is the portfolio manager for Stocks Under $10 and Dividend Stock Advisor. Test drive with a free trial.