Oct 20, 2014 5:20 PM
US stocks quietly move higher; IBM disappoints
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) The U.S. stock market moved quietly higher Monday as investors decided to step back into a market that was rattled by white-knuckle turbulence last week.
It was a rare move upward for a market that, for the most part, has been moving lower for the past month.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17.26 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,904.02 and the Nasdaq composite gained 57.64 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,316.07.
The Dow Jones industrial average did not fare as well, and wound up essentially flat for the day. The 30-stock index rose 19.26 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,399.67. The main reason the Dow did not perform as well as the other two indexes was IBM.
IBM fell $12.95, or 7 percent, to $169.10 after the company reported earnings that missed Wall Street's expectations. The company also missed on revenue and warned that it may not meet its profit goals for the foreseeable future. IBM was the biggest decliner in both the Dow and in the S&P 500.
The Dow is what's known as a price-weighted stock index, which means more expensive stocks like IBM tend to have an out-sized impact on its movements. Without the effect of IBM's decline, the blue chip index would have been up 102 points.
The quiet trading on Wall Street on Monday came after a wild ride last week, when the Dow moved between triple-digit losses and triple-digit gains. Investors remain concerned that economic weakness in Europe could spread to the U.S. Many investors remain bullish on the U.S. stock market over the long term, especially considering how well the U.S. economy has been doing.
"I think we are having a modest correction and I don't think this is a new bear market," said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist for private banking at Brown Brothers Harriman.
The calm can be seen in the decline in the VIX, Wall Street's so-called "fear index." The VIX fell 15 percent to 18.7, closer to its recent average of 15. It went as high as 30 last week, but before this market volatility started, the VIX had been trading near record lows.
Many market watchers expected more volatile trading in the days and weeks to come. The S&P 500 is down just 5.3 percent from its mid-September high, even with the concerns about Europe and Asia. Also the market has had four straight weeks of declines.
"When a market gets as fully-priced as this one, it doesn't take much for things to go wrong," said Wayne Wilbanks, chief investment officer of Wilbanks, Smith & Thomas Asset Management. "This market is just shifting back to more normal market behavior after being in a low-volatility period for much longer than it should have."
This is one of the busiest weeks for company earnings. A total of 130 companies in the S&P 500 index will report their quarterly results, including big names like American Express, Cola-Cola and AT&T.
One big name to report after Monday's closing bell was Apple. The consumer electronics giant reported a profit of $1.42 a share, beating the $1.30 share expected by analysts. Sales also topped forecasts. Apple's stock rose $1.14, or 1 percent, to $100.95 in after-market trading.
U.S. government bond prices were mostly unchanged Monday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.19 percent.
One symptom of the concerns over the global economy has been the sharp fall in oil prices in recent weeks. The price of oil fell slightly Monday, remaining near its lowest level since June of 2012. Benchmark U.S. crude fell 4 cents to close at $82.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 76 cents to close at $85.40 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 3.3 cents to close at $2.200 a gallon.
Gold rose $5.70 to $1,244.70 an ounce. Silver rose two cents to $17.35 an ounce and copper fell two cents to $2.99 a pound.