Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

All eyes on earnings as market advances

NEW YORK - U.S. stocks gained Monday as investors focused on corporate news instead of geopolitical worries.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 16.05 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,569.98 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,936.92. The Nasdaq composite gained 30.43 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,401.33.

The market extended a rebound from Friday, when it logged its biggest one-day gain in five months following signs that tensions in Ukraine might be easing. In July, stocks slumped as tensions between Russia and the West escalated.

"The fundamental economic backdrop remains pretty firm, even though investment sentiment remains less than certain," said Jim Russell, a regional investment director at US Bank.

Shares in Kinder Morgan surged after it announced that it would combine a group of businesses to create the fourth-biggest U.S. energy company by market value.

Kinder Morgan was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, rising $3.25, or 9 percent, to $39.37, on Sunday's announcement that it will combine oil and gas pipeline and storage companies it controls.

Chiquita Brands International surged $3.04, or 30 percent, to $13.10, after the company received a $611 million buyout offer from investment firm Safra Group and the Brazilian agribusiness and juice company Cutrale Group.

The offer of $13 per share, is a 29 percent premium to Chiquita's closing price of $10.06 on Friday.

The unsolicited bid came as Chiquita and Fyffes of Ireland were working on their own transaction, a stock-for-stock deal to create the world's biggest banana supplier.

Among companies reporting earnings, shares of Priceline Group rose $27.72, or 2.2 percent, to $1,309.20, after the company reported second-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street expectations. The online travel company said the summer season got off to a strong start.

Shares of rival Expedia gained $1.39, or 1.7 percent, to $83.94.

More than 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have now reported earnings for the second quarter. Company earnings are expected to grow by 10.1 percent in the period, according to data from S&P Capital IQ, compared with growth of 4.9 percent in the second quarter last year and growth of 3.4 percent in the first quarter.

On Monday, U.S. government bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 2.42 percent.

Gold was little changed at $1,310.50 an ounce. Silver rose 15 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $20.10 an ounce. Oil rose 43 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $98.08.

Steve Rothwell Associated Press
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