Stocks whipsawed this past week with triple-digit moves in four of the five trading sessions for the Dow. When the dust cleared, the averages were higher with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ahead by about 0.5% and the S&P 500 almost 1%. The NASDAQ found new high ground on Thursday and was positive by nearly 2% for the week. Earnings’ news was mostly positive, but some notable negative surprises from IBM and Goldman Sachs took the froth off some of the bidding. Tensions around the world kept buyers at bay on Friday and the upcoming election in France may signal more volatility in European markets that can spill over to our shores.
Oil prices tumbled $3.56/bbl. and closed below the $50 mark sending energy and energy related shares into the negative column by 2.25%. Industrials bounced back as did consumer services and technology. And the transportation group also helped a case for the bulls with a gain of 3%. Political noise overshadowed some of the first quarter earnings reports with import tariffs, healthcare and tax reform making headlines.
More earnings will be coming out this week as we head into the meat of the season. Some blog candidates reporting will include 3M, Kimberly-Clark, Intel, Dow Chemical, United Parcel Service and Colgate-Palmolive; all of which should report modest increases from last years’ results. In economic news, durable goods orders, first quarter GDP numbers, April’s consumer confidence and new home sales figures for March will be released. The bears, however, flexed their muscles as we began the second quarter as stocks dipped below some technical support levels, largely on those stiffer international headwinds and the selective corporate profit misses. Conclusion: Care and selectivity remain prudent investment strategies at this time.
Here is the answer to last week’s trivia question: Pennzoil, founded in Los Angeles, California in 1913, is now part of what company? Royal Dutch Shell, Ashland, BP or Exxon Mobil. Answer: Along with Quaker State Oil, Pennzoil is part of British-Dutch energy company Royal Dutch Shell. Valvoline is a product of Ashland and BP owns the Castrol brand.
Today’s Trivia Question: Although trading of financial instruments goes back to the 12th century, the oldest stock exchange is considered by most historians to be? The Belgian Bourse, Amsterdam Stock Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange or the Paris Bourse.