US Stocks Week Ended May 2, 2014
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Last week the S&P 500 Index closed with a 0.97% return. Monday brought positive news in M&A activity and home sales, but weakness in financials and materials stocks. The index closed up for a modest 0.33% return on the volatile trading day. Tuesday returned 0.48% on some strong earnings reports with the financials, materials and information technology sectors leading the way. Wednesday showed stocks increasing for a third straight day as the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) stated that they are reducing their monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $45 billion. The Fed's taper was expected and the index rose 0.30%. After three straight positive trading days, the index closed about even on Thursday with a -0.01% return. US initial jobless claims were 344K, which was much higher than expected. Claims increased from the previous week's 329K and were higher than the consensus estimate of 320K. The S&P 500 Index ramped up early on Friday, but quickly reversed direction as the higher than expected payrolls data was balanced with the large decrease in the labor force participation data. The index returned -0.13% for the day. Nine of the ten economic sectors had positive performance for the week. The telecommunication services sector was the best performing sector with a 2.80% return. The information technology and consumer discretionary sectors followed with 1.75% and 1.29% returns, respectively. The utilities sector's -1.30% return was the worst performance of all the sectors and was followed by industrials and energy which returned 0.66% and 0.68%, respectively. Pepco Holdings Inc., a diversified energy company, turned in the best performance in the S&P 500 Index with a 23.48% gain on news that Exelon Corp. agreed to acquire the company for $5.4 billion in cash. The next two best performers were Fiserv Inc. and Wynn Resorts Limited with returns of 10.18% and 10.02%, respectively. This week will bring earnings news from Pfizer Inc., The Walt Disney Co., American International Group Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp., Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., The Priceline Group Inc. and over 70 others.
Posted on Monday, May 5, 2014 @ 7:57 AM

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.