Bad Outweighs Good on Wall Street Today
The Dow took a triple-digit header Friday as anxiety over the eurozone debt crisis, oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the launch of a federal criminal probe into Goldman Sachs's (GS) trading practices more than offset strong corporate earnings and an encouraging reading on gross domestic product.
Financial stocks were among the biggest losers in the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU), as a downgrade of Goldman Sachs weighed on the wider sector. Dow components JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and American Express (AXP) shed anywhere from 2% to more than 3% in sympathy with Goldman, whose shares tumbled nearly 10%.
The blue-chip Dow finished the day off 152 points, or 1.4%, at 11,009, while the broader S&P 500 ($INX) shed 20 points, or 1.7%, to 1,867. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) lost 51 points, or 2%, to settle at 2,461.
Still, the major averages finished April with their third straight month of gains, a pattern that's likely to repeat itself as the fast money might jerk stocks around on a daily basis, but the overall trend is higher, says Jason Weisberg, a trader with Seaport Securities, from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
"More sophisticated investors that are looking for quick turnover on their portfolios are moving the market to the upside and the downside," Weisberg says. "But couple market resilience with all the great earnings, and the market should continue to languish to the upside, so to speak, on diminished volume. And then as we go forward and the Greek issue and the European issue diminishes, the market should really flourish."
More than half the companies in the S&P 500 have reported earnings as Friday's close, and they've been impressive even by recent standards. On average, 61% of companies beat Wall Street estimates, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Over the past few quarters, the so-called beat-rate has come in at about 70%. But thus far this earnings season, more than 80% of companies have exceeded analysts' average estimates, a record going back nearly two decades, according to Bloomberg.
The sharp rebound in corporate profits has Weisberg feeling confident about stocks for the rest of the year: "Earnings for the most part have been unbelievable."