While the week started off slow, earnings season was unofficially kicked off by Alcoa (AA ) on Wednesday. The focus was also on Wednesday’s FOMC minutes, which dismissed fears of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates.
The week started off positive as Wall Street dismissed the idea of interest rates being raised sooner than expected as a result of last week’s employment data. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 126,000 jobs were added in March (compared to estimates of 247,000).
The Dow rose 0.7%, the S&P increased 0.7%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.6%.
After the positive day on Monday, Tuesday ended in the red due to stronger dollar fears and low expectations for the upcoming earnings season.
Losses were partially offset by higher oil prices, as WTI crude gained 3.4% on Tuesday.
Reports that FedEx (FDX ) has agreed to acquire Europe-based TNT Express also offset losses for the day.
The Dow dipped 0.03%, the S&P dropped 0.2%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.1%.
On Wednesday, the start of earnings season and the FOMC meetings were the highlight for the week.
The FOMC meeting indicated that members disagreed on the timing of a hike in interest rates. While some officials are in favor of a June increase, others view an increase later in 2015 as the better solution.
Shares of energy companies took a hit after Tuesday’s gains, as crude oil prices dropped 7.1% to $50.42 per barrel.
After hours, Alcoa (AA ) kicked off earnings season with better-than-expected earnings, but a miss in revenue.
The Dow gained 0.2%, the S&P increased 0.3%, and the Nasdaq jumped 0.8%.
Before Thursday opening bell, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA ) became the second major dividend payer to report earnings. The company reported EPS than exceeded analysts’ expectations and in-line guidance for FY2015.
Weekly jobless claims were also released on Thursday morning, indicating that claims rose less than expected. Jobless claims increased 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000.
As earnings season has just begun, Wall Street focused heavily on non-dividend paying Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), as shares tanked 5.4%, and Alcoa, which declined 3.4% on Thursday.
The Dow gained 0.3%, the S&P increased 0.5%, and the Nasdaq jumped 0.5%.
The markets opened higher on Friday morning. The focus was on General Electric’s plan to sell the majority of its assets of GE Capital. The news of the deal sent shares soaring over 8%.
Oil also trended higher on Friday morning, holding above $50 a barrel.
In economic news, we will see retail sales report on Tuesday, the industrial production report on Wednesday, housing starts and jobless claims on Thursday, and consumer sentiment on Friday.
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