Belfast Telegraph

US stocks rally again as banks and industrial companies rise

US stocks climbed Thursday as industrial companies, banks, technology and materials firms and energy companies all rallied.

A strong day of corporate results left investors feeling better about the economy.

For more than a week investors have been poring over company earnings for signs the economy is growing at a faster pace, and on Thursday they felt they found it.

Railway operator CSX gave transport companies like railways and airlines a big boost while Sherwin-Williams raised its annual projections and helped basic materials makers go higher.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index advanced 17.67 points, or 0.8%, to 2,355.84. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 174.22 points, or 0.9%, to 20,578.81.

The Nasdaq composite gained 53.74 points, or 0.9%, to an all-time high of 5,916.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 17.02 points, or 1.2%, to 1,384.15.

American Express had a solid first quarter as its credit card members spent more and kept bigger balances on their cards. The stock gained 4.47 dollars, or 5.9 % , to 80.02 dollars.

SLM, the parent of the student lender Sallie Mae, reported much stronger revenue than expected and its stock climbed 1.17 dollars, or 10.1 % , to 12.70 dollars.

Citizens Financial rose 1.05 dollars, or 3.1 % , to 35.27 dollars after its report.

Railway company CSX announced a bigger profit and more revenue than Wall Street expected in the first quarter.

CSX also said restructuring and spending cuts will increase its profit by about 25 % this year.

The company is cutting jobs and reorganising after it hired Hunter Harrison, former head of Canadian Pacific, as its new chief executive last month. The company also said it will buy back more stock and raise its dividend. CSX stock jumped 2.65 dollars, or 5.6 % , to 49.58 dollars.

Railway and transportation companies like trucking companies and airlines rose. Industrial companies were among the top performers Thursday.

Sherwin-Williams raised its profit guidance for the year as paint sales jumped and prices increased. The stock added 12.48 dollars, or 4%, to 324.02 dollars.

That helped basic materials companies. So did steel maker Nucor, which rose 2.73 dollars, or 4.7%, to 60.35 dollars after its first-quarter results were stronger than expected.

Verizon dipped 53 cents, or 1.1%, to 48.41 dollars as it lost wireless mobile phone subscribers and its profit dropped 20%. That helped push other telecom companies lower.

Other stocks that pay big dividends also fell. Utilities, companies that make and sell household goods, and real estate investment trusts also declined as bond yields rose. That made the stocks less appealing to investors seeking income.

Bond prices fell further. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.23% from 2.22%.

Equipment rental company United Rentals flopped after its sales fell far short of expectations. The company said rental rates are still somewhat weak, and its stock lost 6.21 dollars, or 5.2%, to 113.24 dollars.

State and federal authorities sued Ocwen Financial and said the mortgage lender botched the handling of millions of accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Ocwen generated errors in borrowers' accounts, failed to credit payments, illegally foreclosed on homeowners, and charged borrowers for products without their consent.

Ocwen is one of the nation's largest non-bank mortgage lenders, focusing mostly on subprime and delinquent mortgages. Its stock plunged 2.91 dollars, or 53.9%, to 2.49 dollars in heavy trading.


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