Investors brushed aside geopolitical concerns Friday and focused on the fundamentals: earnings, which overall looked pretty good. That explains why, just one day after the S&P 500's largest drop in three months, stocks bounced back in force. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 121 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) picked up 68, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was higher by 20 points.
There was plenty to digest on the earnings front. Conglomerate General Electric (GE) met expectations with its results, and began the process of launching an IPO for Synchrony Financial, its North American consumer-finance division. GE expects that listing to raise $3.1 billion. The stock ended the day lower by roughly half a percent.
Profits rose at Honeywell (HON), as did the stock, picking up more than 1.5 percent.
Results were a mixed bag for Google (GOOG). Its revenue grew 22 percent, but the cost per click for ads, a key metric investors look at, fell 6 percent fueling concerns about mobile ad revenue. Still, several analysts raised their price target or rating on the stock and shares gained more than 3.5 percent.
IBM (IBM) also came out with its results late on Thursday. Earnings grew, thanks mainly to cost cutting, but for the ninth quarter in a row, revenue fell and Big Blue's software and services divisions didn't show the growth some had expected. Its shares ended slightly lower.
Earnings surprisingly fell at chipmaker AMD (AMD) and shares sold off sharply, down 16 percent. Chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) also fell down 4.5 percent. But Avago Technologies (AVGO), which also makes semiconductors, rallied more than 4 percent. The stock is up a staggering 40 percent so far this year.
Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) gained almost 5 percent on earnings that grew 9 percent.
It was also a busy day for IPO's. Sage Therapeutics was up 67 percent and TubeMogul gained 65 percent.
On the mergers and acquisitions front, Gentiva Health Services (GTIV) rejected a bid from Kindred Healthcare, saying some other bidder -- it won't yet say who -- has come up with a better offer. The stock rallied 16 percent.
AbbVie (ABBV) has reached an agreement to by Shire in the U.K. for roughly $54 billion. The stock was up more than 2.5 percent.
And Microsoft (MSFT) gained slightly after hitting a 14-year high on the announcement the company was laying off 18,000 workers to streamline its business.
And finally, Amazon (AMZN) gained more than 1.5 percent after introducing a new plan. For 9.99 a month you can now get unlimited access to over 600,000 of Amazon's ebooks and thousands of audiobooks. For speed-readers this is a dream come true.
We're going to be taking a bit of a break on the Money Minute and After Market videos, but they'll be back soon. In the meantime, you can still find coverage of all of the news that matters to you and your money on DailyFinance.
-Produced by Karina Huber.
What to Watch Monday:
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements.
The 7 Biggest Financial Mistakes 40-Somethings Make
After Market: A Well-Earned Rebound for Investors
If you've been making mortgage payments for a while now, it may have become just another task you do automatically each month. But it's time to start thinking about your end game. When will your house officially be paid in full, and how will that date intersect with your other plans? Do you need to adjust anything to make your "mortgage freedom" date align with the rest of your life? For example: Do you want to have your house paid off by the time your kids leave for college? If so, start scrutinizing the timing, so you can figure out if you need to make extra payments.
The average student graduating in 2014 emerged with $29,000 in student loan debt. There's no predicting what that number will be once your children are ready to don a cap and gown. But you don't want your kids to be saddled with tens of thousands in debt as they begin their adult lives (or potentially live in your basement well into their 30s because of that debt).
While your children should absolutely apply for every scholarship they can, you can't count on them getting what they'll need. So. there's no time like the present to start seriously building up their college funds. If you're not quite sure about the best ways for you to do that (529 plans are great, but they're not the only good choise), a fee-only financial adviser can walk you through your options.
Are you putting aside enough for retirement? Aim to replace 70 percent to 85 percent of your current income, or save 25 times your current annual expenses. Once you have that final number in mind, use an online retirement calculator or sit down with a financial adviser to come up with a plan for how much you'll need to save each year to reach it. If you haven't already done this, don't delay another day. Future You will thank you.
Credit card debt is a shackle that can prevent you from reaching every other monetary goal on your list. One of the first things you need to do to get your financial house in order is to eliminate all consumer debt -- the sooner, the better. Otherwise, you're losing money each month that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Make debt payoff a top priority. Try an aggressive method like the "debt snowball," where you throw every extra dime you can at your smallest balance until you've decimated that bill. Then move to the next one on the list and continue amassing "victories" until you're done with every debt. Where can you find the money to accelerate your debt payoff? Reduce your expenses or take a temporary second job, if necessary. The sooner you free yourself from debt, the better.
Your current vehicle won't last forever, no matter how diligent you are at taking care of it. When it comes time to buy a new car, will you have saved enough to make the purchase in cash? As you get older, you should be systematically reducing the number of financial obligations you're saddled with -- not adding on new ones. Car loans take from three to seven years to pay off. (The current average length is around 5½ years.) Even if your current car lasts you well into your 50s, financing a new one could mean that you'll be facing loan payments into your retirement years. Instead, plan ahead so you can pay cash.
If you're married, have children or support your parents financially, you should have term life insurance. Tragedies can happen at any time, and term insurance can help you create a Plan B for the benefit of those who rely on you. If you're healthy, you can get term life insurance coverage with a $500,000 benefit for roughly $29 a month. That's a small price to pay to know your family will be cared for if anything happens to you. The longer you wait to get that coverage, the higher your price will be.
Just like life insurance, disability insurance is a wise investment. (And, just like life insurance, the longer you wait to get it, the higher your monthly payments will be.) Should you fall ill or get injured and be unable to work for a period of time, disability insurance can pay out 50 percent to 70 percent of your income. Hopefully, you'll never need to use it -- but you never want to be in a spot where you do need it and you don't have it.