Dow extends two-week winning streak on earnings
At the closing bell the Dow was up 73 points, or 0.7%, to 10,270. Equities shrugged off a disappointing report on consumer confidence, focusing instead on earnings reports. The broader S&P 500 ($INX) gained 6 points, or 0.6% to finish at 1,093, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) rose 19, or 0.9%, to 2,168.
"Today the main story we had was better earnings from cyclical bellwether stocks Abercrombie & Fitch and Disney, which surprised to the upside," says Ticonderoga Securities analyst John Stoltzfus. "And out of Europe today we had the report that the euro zone emerged from its recession in the latest quarter."
Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) reported late Thursday its fourth-quarter earnings grew 18% on improved results at cable network ESPN and syndication sales of "Grey's Anatomy" and "Desperate Housewives." The results were above estimates and showed improvement at the company's operations.
Trendy teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) a 39% lower profit of $38.8 million, or 44 cents per share, but adjusted profit was much better than Street estimates, helped by cost cuts. Net sales fell 15% to $765.4 million as same-store sales fell 22%.
Meanwhile, J.C. Penney (JCP) reported a lower quarterly profit of $27 million, or 11 cents a share, in line with estimates. Sales fell 3.2% to $4.18 billion in the third quarter. Same-store sales fell 4.6% during the quarter. But the retailer raised its forecast for the full year to a level that could top Wall Street expectations.
The U.S. dollar continued its slide against other major currencies, while gold rose to $1117.20 an ounce. Crude oil fell 61 cents to settle at $76.33 a barrel.