US Stock Market Ended February 1, 2019
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Equity markets closed higher last week. The S&P 500 had an 8% return during month of January, which was the best January since 1987 and the best month since October 2015. Information Technology and Energy were the top performing sectors, fueled by strong quarterly corporate earnings announcements. Last week, the top performing large cap technology names were Xerox Corp. (16% return), Symantec Corp. (12% return) and Advanced Micro Devices (12% return). Xerox announced revenue and earnings in-line with expectations but did guide higher FY19 revenue. AMD reported revenue in-line with expectations but sales growth guidance surprised equity markets. Symantec reported 3Q billings up 32% from last quarter and raised their revenue guidance. Last week, oil prices started down as fears of a China slowdown loomed. However, oil closed the week up on news that Saudi oil shipments have slowed. The top performing energy names were Helmerich & Payne (6% return), Exxon Mobil Corp. (6% return) and Hess Corp. (5% return). Charter Communications was the top performing stock in the S&P 500 last week with a 17% return. The broadband internet/cable TV provider announced a 6% annual revenue jump on news they added 289k residential internet customers. General Electric Co. was also a top performing name after rallying 11% last week. The 126-year-old industrial conglomerate had a banner earnings announcement with $0.17 eps on $33.3b in revenue along with strong free-cash-flow numbers, while they also announced a $517m U.S. Department of Defense contract. According to Bloomberg, this earnings season has been strong, with 237 names in the S&P 500 announcing 178 or ~75% have met or beat estimates. Overall corporate earnings remain strong, job, wage and consumer confidence high and the Federal Reserve appears to have softened their hiking stance. Given the current conditions, we remain bullish on equities.
Posted on Monday, February 4, 2019 @ 8:50 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.