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Dow, S&P 500 Hit New Highs as Earnings Impress – Kiplinger's Personal Finance


Investors weren’t given much macro data to chew on Friday, though they still had plenty of positive points throughout the past week to digest.

However, a slew of promising first-quarter earnings reports helped give the Dow Jones Industrial Average and other indexes a gentle nudge higher to finish the week.

Morgan Stanley (MS, -2.8%) more than doubled its year-ago Q1 earnings and posted an adjusted profit of $2.20 per share that easily bested analyst expectations. Shares declined, but that can be at least partly chalked up to the revelation that it suffered $911 million in losses connected to the collapse of capital management firm Archegos Capital.

PNC Financial Services (PNC, +2.3%) and Ally Financial (ALLY, +0.2%) also reported Street-beating results.

The Dow finished 0.5% higher to 34,200 to secure yet another all-time high, as did the S&P 500, which closed up 0.4% to 4,185. Tech, seemingly taking its cue again from improving interest rates, helped restrain the Nasdaq Composite (+0.1% to 14,052) to a modest gain.

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Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Russell 2000 closed 0.3% higher to finish at 2,262.
  • U.S. crude oil futures slipped by 0.2% to finish the week at $63.33 per share.
  • Gold futures improved by 0.8% to $1,780 per ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined again, off 3.0% to 16.07.
  • Bitcoin prices declined 2.6% to $61,832. Instead, Friday’s crypto spotlight belonged on Dogecoin, the digital currency that was created as a joke. Dogecoin rocketed from 16.3 cents per share to as high as 45 cents Friday before settling in with “just” a 90.2% gain to 31.0 cents. (Bitcoin and Dogecoin trade 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)
stock chart for 041621

The Calm Before the Storm Before the Calm?

Lately, analysts have been a lot more liberal with the phrase “we’d be buyers on dips,” nodding to lofty prices after an 11%-plus run for the market in this still-young year.

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Well, that dip could be coming – and that’s OK, says Ryan Detrick, Chief Market Strategist for LPL Financial:

“Overall market breadth is extremely strong. This could suggest near-term there could be an exhaustion point, but this isn’t what you see at the end of bull markets, in fact, it tends to usually happen at the start of new bull markets,” he says. “Currently, more than 95% of the components in the S&P 500 are above their 200-day moving average, a level only seen two other times, in December 2003 and September 2009. Looking back at 2004 and 2010, 2004 saw consolidation a good part of the year, while 2010 had a well-deserved 16% correction after the huge gains off the March 2009 lows.

“But the key point is after extreme market breadth like we are seeing now, overall higher prices and the bull market lasted for many more years.”

Portfolio ballast goes a long way of surviving such periods with your nerves intact. We typically suggest income as a way to smooth out such rides, whether it’s payout-growing stocks like Dividend Aristocrats and Dividend Kings, or stocks that pay high (and frequent) dividends.

But at a more basic level, you can find a certain level of stability and security from companies that boast unassailable balance sheets and responsible financial management, dividend or not. Consider this list of 25 blue chips, made up of longtime dividend payers and “growthy” nonpayers alike, that have the financial wherewithal to navigate any type of environment in the months to come.





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