According to BloombergBusiness: The Nasdaq Composite climbed to the highest level in 15 years, topping its dot-com-era closing high, as U.S. stocks shrugged off mixed earnings and disappointing manufacturing data from across the globe. Oil rose to a four-month high.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.6 percent at 2:10 p.m. in New York, poised to close at a record for the first time in 15 years. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.5 percent, passing its March 2 closing high. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 0.4 percent. The euro rose on speculation that Greece and its creditors will reach a deal to receive aid payments. Oil jumped 3.2 percent.
Gains Thursday in Microsoft Inc. and EBay Inc. pushed the Nasdaq past its record, while the S&P 500 advanced as earnings from large companies surpassed estimates even as the strong dollar weighed on overseas sales. Slower expansion in euro-area manufacturing and a decline in Chinese factory data signaled Asian stimulus measures and European Central Bank bond purchases have yet to take hold.
“The Nasdaq is seeing strength because a lot of these technology companies are doing better,” Randy Warren, who manages more than $100 million at Exton, Pennsylvania-based Warren Financial Service & Associates Inc., said by phone. “Sentiment seems to be really positive. The market seems to be giving Fortune 500 companies a free pass, assuming that the first quarter was bad but we’re going to have an acceleration. If we get that, all is well and everyone is happy.”
Almost two months after surpassing 5,000 on March 2 for the first time in 15 years, the gauge finally exceeded the 5,048.62, a level that was reached on March 10, 2000, and stood for a decade and a half as the dot-com era’s high-water mark. Even with today’s advance, the Nasdaq remains below its intraday high of 5,132.52 and the second-highest intraday level, 5,078.86, both reached in March 15 years ago.
The record looks set to fall on a day that provided investors looking to earnings for clues on the strength of corporate America with a mixed picture. Of the S&P 500 members that have released results this earnings season, 76 percent beat profit projections, while just 49 percent topped sales estimates. Microsoft Corp., Google Inc., Starbucks Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. report after the market closes today.
Facebook Inc. was little changed after missing revenue estimates for the first time since 2012. Caterpillar Inc. gained as its 2015 forecast topped analysts’ estimates. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. reported its first loss since the global financial crisis.
General Motors Co. slid and 3M Co., the maker of Post-it notes and Scotch tape, fell after their earnings trailed projections. EBay Inc. jumped after saying profit growth was recovering amid cost cuts.
“Underlying revenues remain disappointing as they’re not helped by the ever stronger U.S. dollar,” said Lex Van Dam, a fund manager at Hampstead Capital LLP in London. “The rest of the world is doing its best to provide liquidity but consumer demand remains disappointing. The stock market is reflecting a lack of investment alternatives as opposed to a booming economy.”
Data showed purchases of new U.S. homes slumped more than forecast in March from a seven-year high, a sign progress in the industry will be halting. Applications for unemployment benefits held below 300,000 for the seventh straight week, pointing to a rebound in payrolls after hiring eased last month.
PulteGroup Inc. sank 7.9 percent to lead an S&P index of homebuilders lower by 4 percent, the most since January. The third-largest U.S. homebuilder slid the most in almost two years after reporting profit that missed analyst estimates.
Treasuries halted a three-day decline as signs economic growth is slowing in China and Europe boosted demand for the safest assets. The benchmark U.S. 10-year yield fell one basis point to 1.97 percent.
A Purchasing Managers Index for manufacturing and services in the euro area fell to 53.5 from 54 in March, London-based Markit Economics said Thursday. While the reading remains well above the 50-point mark that divides expansion from contraction, it is below the 54.4 forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey.
“This serves as a gentle reminder that although Draghi is pumping money into the economy, it will take a bit of time to feed through,” said Ben Kumar, who helps oversee about $12 billion at Seven Investment Management in London. “Earnings expectations had gone a bit far -- consumers have not had enough time to feel the recovery and drive corporate profits.”
Germany’s DAX Index and France’s CAC 40 Index slid more than 0.6 percent as similar data from those countries also disappointed. They were some of the biggest decliners among western-European markets on Thursday.
A gauge of technology stocks fell the most among 19 industry groups, with Ericsson sliding 10 percent after reporting worse-than-forecast profitability. The index had closed at its highest level since 2002 on Wednesday.
Developing-market stocks rose for a third day as Taiwan’s shares surged the most since 2013 amid speculation officials will broaden access to China’s capital markets. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index advanced 0.8 percent, as the Taiex Index rallied 1.9 percent.
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, a gauge of mainland shares listed in Hong Kong, fell 1.3 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed 0.4 percent higher.
China’s so-called flash purchasing managers index from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics dropped to 49.2 for April, the lowest since April last year, underscoring a slowdown that prompted China’s central bank to cut banks’ reserve requirements by the most since 2008.
Economists had predicted the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index would come in at 49.6 for April, matching March’s reading. Levels below 50 signal contraction.
“The fundamental economy is not improving” in China, said Helen Lau, a metals and mining analyst at Argonaut Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It is a little worrying. We’re close to the bottom. Before that happens, the government should continue with stimulus until there is a rebound.”
Brazil’s real ended a two-day gain after the country’s state-run oil producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA said a corruption scandal cost $2.1 billion.
Aluminum fell as much as 1.7 percent, the most in two months, on concern more exports from China of products made from the metal will exacerbate a global glut.
Crude climbed to a four-month high in New York after Saudi Arabia renewed its aerial assault on Shiite rebels in Yemen, bolstering concerns that Middle Eastern oil shipments may be disrupted. Futures rose as much as 2.7 percent in New York and 3 percent in London.