by Marc Bastow | July 19, 2012 5:28 pm
Great earnings news across the market offset negative existing-home sales news from the National Association of Realtors, weak manufacturing activity numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Business Outlook Index and a drop in the Conference Board’s index of Leading Economic Indicators.
The Nasdaq finished up 0.79% at 2,965, while the S&P 500 and Dow both finished ahead 0.27% at 1,376 and 12,943, respectively.
Technology stocks did the heavy lifting Thursday. eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) soared nearly 9% on the day to a 6-year high following Wednesday’s release of outstanding earnings, with PayPal and eBay Marketplaces posting impressive gains for the quarter. Fellow e-tailer Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) shared in the good news and saw its shares rally more than 4%.
The glee from Wednesday’s after-the-bell earnings release from IBM (NYSE:IBM) was carried forward to 4% advances on the day. VMware (NYSE:VMW), which has changed CEOs while announcing strong preliminary earnings, rallied for the second straight day, gaining nearly 3%. Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) all followed suit, rising up more than 1%.
The technology roll continued after hours, as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) beat earnings expectations with a profit of $10.12 per share on revenue of $8.42 billion. Google shares edged up 2.2% in after hours trading.
Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) swung to its first quarterly loss since going public in 1986, missing analysts’ forecast despite a 4% increase in revenues. MSFT’s loss was primarily attributable to a $6 billion write-down of its ill-fated investment in social media company aQuantive, as underlying earnings were 73 cents per share. And even MSFT couldn’t be held back, moving up around 3% in early after-hours trading.
Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) shares rocketed nearly 12% on an announced agreement with Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX), ending a rocky period between the two companies. The news sent competitors CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) and Rite-Aid (NYSE:RAD) down 6% each.
Financial services companies took it on the chin as both American Express (NYSE:AXP) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) released disappointing numbers. AMEX was hurt by slower consumer spending, while Morgan’s securities and fixed-income trading business was slower than expected. MS sank 5.3%, while AMEX dropped 3.5%.
Despite already getting hammered earlier this month thanks to SuperValu (NYSE:SVU), grocery store chain Safeway (NYSE:SWY) tumbled more than 4% as revenues increased but earnings decreased for the second quarter, disappointing investors.
General Electric (NYSE:GE), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) and Xerox (NYSE:XRX) are among companies reporting earnings tomorrow.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long MSFT.
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