Stocks Push Higher Despite Gloomy Data
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The major U.S. equity averages finished with mild gains Thursday up as an IBM(IBM) -led rally in technology offset a weak batch of economic data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added nearly 35 points, or 0.27%, to close at 12,943. The blue-chip index, which has risen in four of the past five sessions, is now up 5.9% year-to-date.
IBM was the standout performer with a gain of nearly 4% to $195.34 after Big Blue eased past Wall Street's expectations for its latest quarter and lifted its earnings outlook. Because the Dow is price-weighted and IBM has the highest per share price in the index, the impact of its advance was considerable.
American Express(AXP) was one of the Dow's biggest decliners, losing 3.5%, after the credit card company came in short of Wall Street's revenue expectations in its second quarter. Other blue chips in decline included AT&T(T) , Bank of America(BAC) , Verizon(VZ) , which also reported its quarterly numbers, and Wal-Mart Stores(WMT) .
Aside from technology, basic materials and consumer cyclicals were the strongest sectors in the broad market. Financials were weak.
The earnings headlines from tech heavyweights kept coming after Thursday's closing bell as both Google(GOOG) and Microsoft(MSFT) topped Wall Street's profit expectations with their quarterly reports but came in light on revenue.
Google reported non-GAAP earnings of $3.35 billion, or $10.12 a share, on revenue excluding traffic acquisition costs of $8.36 billion for the second quarter vs. the average analysts' estimate for a profit of $10.04 a share on revenue of $8.41 billion.