Stocks are getting a modest lift as earnings come pouring out of companies.
The S&P 500 is up 7 points to 2,095, the Dow Jones Industrial average is gaining 61 points to trade at 18,038 and the Nasdaq is rising by 17 points to 4,912. The S&P Retail ETF is adding 12 cents to trade at $44.95.
Coach Inc. stock is rising slightly this morning after the luxury handbag-maker reported that its sales had improved. Third-quarter revenue rose to $1.03 billion from last year’s $929.3 million and beating the FactSet estimate of $1.02 billion. The earnings per share for the quarter were 44 cents and that also topped the estimate of 41 cents per share. Comp sales were flat, ending a string of sales declines. Coach will be cutting back staff and also announced management changes at the higher levels. Coach stock initially fell by 19 cents to $40 on concerns about the job cuts, but was turning around and lately gained 23 cents to sell at $40.41. Overall the stock has risen 32 percent over the past 6 months.
Procter & Gamble Co. reported that its beauty sales fell 5 percent in the third fiscal quarter even though the company raised prices by 2 percent. The stock got a slight lift to trade at $81.60. Net sales fell to $15.8 billion, a drop of 7 percent from last year’s $16.9 billion. Group net earnings for the quarter were $2.78 billion, up 27 percent from $2.19 billion for the prior-year quarter. Operating income for the quarter was $3.31 billion, up 10 percent from $3.02 billion. P&G stock dropped by 56 cents to sell at $80.83.
Simon Property Group Inc. delivered first-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations. The retail real estate company reported that its funds from operations was $951.8 million or $2.63 per diluted share, which was higher than last year’s $830.7 million and beat the FactSet estimate of $2.54 per share. Revenues rose 9.9 percent to $1.34 billion, which topped the estimate of $1.26 billion. The stock fell by $1.33 to $202.34.
Ant Financial Services, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba raised $4.5 billion. This gives the online payment company a $60 billion valuation. The company was split off from Alibaba and has expanded beyond a “Paypal” type of company to wealth management and banking.
In economic news, U.S. durable-goods orders rebounded and rose 0.8 percent. Defense orders carried the day for March. The Federal Reserve has begun its two-day meeting and will conclude tomorrow with an announcement about interest rates.
The Chinese and Hong Kong markets closed the day higher, while Japan’s Nikkei ended the day slightly lower. Europe was also a mixed bag with France lower, Germany flat, the U.K. a tiny bit higher, while Italy saw the biggest gain with the market rising by 1.8 percent.