What's moving markets today: April 23, 2019
US markets are off to a strong morning, driven higher by gains in technology and health care, as well as consumer stocks that do well when the market is also performing well.
The S&P 500 is only about 4 points, or 0.1%, away from its all-time closing high of 2,930 points.
Twitter (TWTR) is the index's biggest gainer at nearly 17%, followed by toy retailer Hasbro (HAS) with more than 14%. Both companies reported earnings before the bell. Twitter saw strong user growth last quarter, while sales at Hasbro were encouraging.
In the Dow, Coca-Cola (KO) led the field, rising 1.8%.
Telecom stocks were the weakest across the board. Verizon (VZ) was the biggest loser in the Dow, down 2%. The company reported ailing wireless revenues, but better-than-expected earnings.
The Trump administration's tariff strategy is coming home to roost.
On Tuesday, Harley Davidson (HOG) posted a drop in first-quarter sales and earnings. It cited tariffs between the United States, the European Union and China as part of the reason for its weak performance.
Both the European Union and China retaliated against US-imposed tariffs by adding their own levies.
President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday that the tariffs Harley faces are unfair and that the United States would reciprocate.
Harley shares closed down 2%.
Stocks kicked off Tuesday’s session slightly stronger.
Among the morning’s biggest gainers was toy retailer Hasbro (HAS), which rallied more than 15% following its first quarter earnings report before the bell.
Twitter (TWTR) shares jumped nearly 13%, also after it posted its earnings.
Twitter (TWTR) reported strong user growth and advertising sales, which is boosting its stock more than 16% in early trading.
The company reported 330 million monthly active users in the first three months of 2019, an increase of 9 million from the prior quarter. That breaks Twitter's streak of three consecutive quarters of user declines.
Twitter posted revenue of $787 million for the quarter, up 18% from the same period a year ago and more than Wall Street had expected. The company credited this growth in part to traction for video ad formats.
The company also released a preview of some features it's soon rolling out:
- The stock is up 40% for the year.
Procter & Gamble (PG) pushed through pricing increases on many of its big consumer brands, helping lead to a 5% increase in sales during its most recent quarter compared with a year earlier.
P&G's said Tuesday that its beauty division, which includes brands such as Olay and SK-II, grew in the teens last quarter. The conglomerate's home care division, comprised of Cascade, Dawn, Febreze and Swiffer, grew in the high single digits compared with a year ago.
P&G also got a lift from its Always and Tampax brands in its feminine care unit, and Tide Pods in fabric care.
The strong quarter signaled that, despite the growth of small online brands and big retailers' private labels in consumer products, shoppers are still attracted to P&G's big name brands. Although retailers such as Walmart and Amazon are competing with each other to drop prices, P&G has been able to raise its prices.
CEO David Taylor said in a release Tuesday that P&G had shown "improved results despite a challenging competitive and macroeconomic environment.
P&G's stock was flat during pre-market trading. It is up 15% so far this year.
Shares of Coca-Cola (KO) were up about 3% before the market opened on Tuesday after the company reported solid earnings for the first quarter and reaffirmed its guidance for the year.
Sales grew 5% to $8 billion in the period. CEO James Quincey said that the company's plan to expand its portfolio is working. "Our disciplined growth strategies continue to deliver strong underlying performance," he said in a statement discussing the quarterly performance.
Some of Coca-Cola's core brands performed particularly well for the company. Coke Zero Sugar had double-digit growth for the sixth straight quarter, Coca-Cola said.
Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar, which launched in February, helped drive 6% retail growth for the Coca-Cola brand products.
Strong sales from old-fashioned favorites and new initiatives is bolstering Hasbro's (HAS) sales. The stock is up nearly 6% in premarket trading.
The toy maker reported a rise in first-quarter revenue and a surprise profit — a much-needed turnaround after it reported a loss for the same quarter a year ago following the closure of Toys 'R' Us.
Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner said the sales of Magic: The Gathering, Monopoly and Play-Doh showed growth. The company also said its investments in new platforms, like digital and e-sports "provided a meaningful contribution."
With most of the year ahead of us, we remain on track to deliver profitable growth for the full-year 2019," Goldner said.
Whirlpool (WHR) shares are surging 8% in premarket trading after it released a positive earnings report on Tuesday.
The appliance giant beat analysts' expectations on earnings per share, but missed slightly on revenue. Whirlpool's shock success comes it continues to deal with the ongoing US-China trade dispute and tariffs.
To compensate for the higher price of steel and aluminum, the company has raised its prices.
Successful execution 2 of price increases and sustained focus on cost discipline drove very positive results in the first quarter, and provide confidence in our ability to deliver our full-year financial goals," said CEO Marc Bitzer.
Crude oil futures rallied again on Tuesday after the White House pledged to deepen its crackdown on exports from Iran.
The Trump administration vowed to bring Iran's oil exports to "zero" by removing the waivers that had allowed some countries to continue buying crude from the OPEC nation despite the reintroduction of US sanctions last fall.
President Donald Trump promised in a tweet that "Saudi Arabia and others in OPEC will more than make up" the reduction in supply.
But the oil market suggest traders are skeptical.
US oil prices climbed another 0.7% on Tuesday to $65.55 a barrel. That represents a spike of 54% since Christmas Eve. Brent crude, the global benchmark, increased 0.6% to above $74.