U.S. equities and stock exchange traded funds started off on the right footing Wednesday as earnings helped prop up gains, but markets still stumbled toward the end of the day.
Among the largest losers of the day, International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) declined 5.0% Wednesday, falling below its 200-day simple moving average, after the behemoth revealed worst-than-expected declines in revenue for the first time in five quarters.
Additionally, the energy sector slipped as crude oil prices fell over 4% after U.S. data revealed a counter-seasonal build in gasoline inventories and a smaller-than-expected dip in overall crude stocks.
“Crude broke $52 on WTI, that is the strongest correlation we have right now away from the case-by-case earnings we have,” Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, told Reuters. “Except for a couple of household names, (earnings) have been good. The problem with our impression of the earnings season is we just talk about the bad news.”
Many market observers have hopes that first quarter earnings results could sustain the ongoing bull market rally. Of the 57 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings, 75.4% revealed better-than-expected results. Overall profits among S&P 500 companies are estimated to rise 10.8 in the quarter, their best quarterly result since 2011.
”Investors are expecting another strong earnings season,” Nandini Ramakrishnan, strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, told the Wall Street Journal. “It would be disappointing if earnings-per-share numbers didn’t come out [well]…given the exuberance of markets in the past five or six months.”
Moreover, the overall global economic picture still points to continued growth ahead.
“While there has been some disappointment, the big picture has not vastly changed,” James Athey, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, told Reuters. “We’re still talking about a global economy which is doing better… and central banks that are looking to normalize, and all of that should be supportive for risk assets.”
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