US stocks advance amid corporate earnings, consumer confidence rises

January 29, 2014 7:45 am

US stocks snapped 3-day drop as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounded from its worst slump since June, as earnings at companies topped estimates and consumer confidence gained of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The S&P 500 added 0.6% to 1,792.50 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 90.68 points, or 0.6%, to 15,928.56. About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 6.8% more than the three-month average.

Still, US investor attention will turn back to the Federal Reserve, according to analysts. The U.S. central bank is expected to announce the results of its first policy-setting meeting of the year at 2 p.m. Eastern time, today.

Stocks and currencies in many developing nations have been hit hard by worries over slowing growth in China, the Fed policy shift and geopolitical stresses in Turkey, Ukraine.

A report Tuesday of orders for U.S. durable goods showed they fell in December more than economists had expected, although reports of U.S. consumer confidence hit multi-month highs. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to 80.7 in January from a revised 77.5 in the prior month, the New York-based private research group said today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a reading of 78.

The Federal Open Market Committee has started its last meeting under Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday. Policy makers said in December that the central bank would begin to pare the pace of its monthly bond buying by $10 billion to $75 billion this month. The Fed will cut purchases by $10 billion at each of the next six FOMC meetings, with the program ending no later than December.

In corporate world, American Airlines Group jumped 1.78, or 5.9%, to 31.96 after swinging to a fourth-quarter adjusted profit as the carrier reported its first quarterly results since its merger with US Airways Group last month.

Data-storage maker Seagate Technology tumbled 6.53, or 11.2%, to 51.52 after reporting fiscal second-quarter profit fell 13% on lower revenue.

Apple slid 8% to $506.50, the lowest since October, after reporting that it sold 51 million iPhones in the quarter ended December 28, missing analysts’ estimates for 54.7 million handsets. Apple also projected revenue in the current period may shrink from a year earlier, in what would be the first quarterly sales decline since 2003.

Yahoo! Inc. dropped 2.9% to $37.10 as of 4:39 p.m. in New York. The company forecast after the close of regular trading first-quarter sales that fell short of some analysts’ estimates as Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer struggles to turn user growth at the Web portal into advertising dollars.

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