Enter Ben Bernanke.
The Federal Reserve chairman, in both written and oral fashion, calmed markets in the early trading hours by indicating that his easing policy isn’t under pressure, with “tapering” not expected to occur until later on this year.
The Nasdaq led the way forward on the day, rising 0.32% to 3610, while the S&P 500 rose 0.28% to close at 1680.88. The Dow Jones Industrial Average managed a late rally to end up 0.12% at 15470.44.
The day’s most perplexing move came from Yahoo (YHOO), which soared by more than 10% to hit five-year highs near $30 after reporting higher profits that matched Wall Street estimates — but on lower revenue growth, and alongside a trimmed-down 2013 revenue picture. Investors focused instead on solid earnings from its Alibaba Group unit, of which it holds a 24% stake, and a continuation of its share buyback plan.
Toy-maker Mattel (MAT) didn’t fare so well, falling more than 6% as second-quarter earnings fell to 21 cents per share from last year’s 28 cents, and well below the consensus for 32 cents. Sales of the iconic Barbie brand fell 12% for the quarter.
Bank of America (BAC) reported a 63% rise in second-quarter profits compared to last year, prompting a 3% increase in BAC shares. Other financials were up too, including Wells Fargo (WFC) and UBS (UBS), which both inched up more than 1%
After the bell, IBM (IBM) was up 2% after reporting earnings of $3.91 per share that beat forecasts, and raising its 2013 estimates to $16.90 from $16.70. A number of other big names weren’t so lucky.
Ebay (EBAY) was a solid 6% lower in after-hours trading following the announcement of second-quarter earnings that missed by a penny and Q3 forecasts that disappointed the Street. Intel (INTC) was down more than 1% after Q2 earnings plunged from 45 cents to 39 cents and prompted the company to cut full-year forecasts. And American Express (AXP) fell about 2% ahead of its postmarket earnings report, then slid more after the bell despite beating estimates with EPS of $1.27, a 10% improvement over the previous year.
- Lightinthebox (LITB): Up 16.4% ($2.49) $17.42.
- Kodiak Oil (KOG): Up 6.1% (52 cents) to $9.09.
- Pacific Sunwear (PSUN): Up 5.8% (23 cents) to $4.21.
- Verastem (VSTM): Down 11.1% ($1.88) to $15.06.
- Real Goods Solar (RSOL): Down 7.1% (19 cents) to $2.49.
- Broadcom (BRCM): Down 3.6% ($1.25) to $33.60.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he is long MSFT and YHOO.