U.S. stocks edged lower to start out a short week following a weaker-than-expected report by the National Association of Realtors on the housing market and mixed earnings results, but the markets managed a slow-but-steady rally that carried through to broad gains by the end of the day.
The net result showed the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging ahead 0.46% to 13,712.13, with the S&P 500 right behind with a gain of 0.44% to 1,492.51. The Nasdaq closed up 0.27% to 3,143.18.
After the bell, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) made an earnings splash by posting quarterly profits of $10.65, up 12% year-over-year and better than estimates of $10.52. The figure came on revenues that grew 36% to $14.42 billion, also trumping estimates. GOOG shares were up about 4% in early after-market trading.
Earnings news dominated headlines, starting early when Verizon (NYSE:VZ) reported a wider quarterly loss blamed in part on Superstorm Sandy and subsidies for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone sales. Still, VZ managed to finish ahead by just less than 1%.
Also heading north was insurance giant Travelers (NYSE:TRV), which gained 2% after the company’s fourth-quarter profit beat estimates, and DuPont (NYSE:DD), which also improved around 2% on better-than-expected earnings and an upbeat outlook.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) slid less than 1% after the company’s earnings forecast fell short of the mark, though earnings and sales came roughly in line with analysts’ expectations.
Computer maker Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) continued its run by another 2% after CNBC reported that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was in talks with Silver Lake Partners and CEO Michael Dell to invest between $1 billion to $3 billion in the much-discussed buyout.
Online daily-deals provider Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) saw its shares tumble just more than 2% after announcing it will no longer post gun-based sales and won’t accept deals related to shooting ranges or concealed weapons classes.
Earnings release notables for Wednesday include Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT), McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
- Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM): Up 13% ($2.06) to $17.90.
- Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX): Up 7.1% ($2.51) to $37.89.
- Nii Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD): Up 6.9% (45 cents) t0 $7.
- Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA): Down 9.7% (95 cents) to $8.82.
- Chico’s (NYSE:CHS): Down 3.9% (72 cents) to $17.77.
- Office Depot (NYSE:ODP): Down 3.7% (17 cents) to $4.48.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long TRV, JNJ, MSFT and AAPL.