Saturday 20 January 2018

Investors ignore economic reports

Stocks on Wall Street recovered slightly despite two disappointing economic reports (AP)
Stocks on Wall Street recovered slightly despite two disappointing economic reports (AP)

The US stock market inched modestly higher yesterday, recovering more than half of what it lost the day before, as investors were able to set aside two disappointing economic reports.

CBS and other broadcasters rose after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of them over a start-up Internet company in a closely watched copyright case.

Monsanto rose after the agricultural company announced a big stock buyback and reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates.

"The trend for this market is still, for the time being, up," said Anastasia Amoroso, a global market strategist with JP Morgan Funds.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9.55 points, or 0.5%, to 1,959.53. The index fell roughly 13 points the day before.

The Nasdaq composite rose 29.40 points, or 0.7%, to 4,379.76 and the Dow Jones industrial average rose 49.38 points, or 0.3%, to 16,867.51.

Consumer discretionary stocks were among the biggest advancers, a sector that includes broadcasters and other media companies.

The US Supreme Court ruled Aereo would have to pay broadcast companies when it takes television programmes from the airwaves and allows subscribers to watch them on smartphones and other portable devices.

It was a major win for the broadcast industry, which had argued that Aereo should have to pay for programming the same way cable and satellite providers have to.

CBS rose 3.64 dollars, or 6%, to 62.48 dollars and Walt Disney, which owns ABC, rose 1.22 dollars, or 1.5%, to 83.90 dollars. TV station owners also rose. Sinclair Broadcasting jumped 4.56 dollars, or 16%, to 33.80 dollars.

Investors were not fazed by two negative economic reports released yesterday.

In a revised estimate, the commerce department said the US economy shrank at annual rate of 2.9% in the first three months of the year. Two-thirds of the downward revision reflected a decline in health care spending.

The commerce department also said orders for long-lasting goods sank 1% in May as demand for military equipment fell sharply.

"GDP for the first quarter was not bad, it was horrible," said Doug Cote and Karyn Cavanaugh of Voya Investment Management, in a note to investors.

Investors said the GDP report did not tell them anything they already knew. Many have already attributed weakness in the US during the first three months of the year to unusually harsh winter weather.

Government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, which falls when prices rise, dropped to 2.56% from 2.58% late on Tuesday.

Pioneer Natural Resources and Enterprise Products rose after The Wall Street Journal reported that the US government was loosening a long-standing ban by letting those two companies sell a certain kind of unrefined American oil internationally.

The newspaper said the Obama administration would allow foreign buyers to purchase a type of ultralight oil known as condensate, which can be turned into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.

Press Association

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