Stocks rose on Monday, showing modest strength after turning in their worst one-week performance of 2013 last week.
The S&P 500 closed at 1,562.50, up 7.25 points or 0.5 per cent. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 14,567.17, up 19.66 points or 0.1 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,090.68, up 25.13 points or 0.2 per cent.
The economic backdrop wasn’t great. The National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales fell 0.4 per cent in March, month-over-month, to 4.92 million at an annual rate. That missed expectations for a 0.4 per cent gain and was down from a 0.6 per cent raise last month.
However, key commodities rose. Gold jumped to $1,424 (U.S.) an ounce, up $28.70, marking its fifth consecutive gain. Bullion recently slipped into a bear market and last Monday sustained its worst one-day drop in 30 years, but has been rebounding since then.
Crude oil prices rose to $88.81 a barrel, up 80 cents.
Within the TSX, commodity producers were among the best performers. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.7 per cent and Goldcorp Inc. rose 2.6 per cent. However, Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.1 per cent.
Elsewhere in Canada, Rogers Communications Inc. reported a 15 per cent rise in quarterly earnings, to $353-million (Canadian) or 80 cents a share. Revenue rose 2.9 per cent. While the average revenue per customer rose, to $68.56, the number of new subscribers slowed to 32,000, missing estimates. The shares rose 0.6 per cent during regular trading hours.
In the U.S., Apple Inc. rose 2.2 per cent, ahead of the release of its quarterly earnings on Tuesday. According to Bloomberg News, analysts expect the company’s earnings will shrink for the first time in a decade.
Netflix Inc. rose 6.7 per cent during regular trading hours, before surging more than 19 per cent in after-hours trading with the release of upbeat quarterly results. The movie-streaming company reported income of 31 cents (U.S.) a share, after excluding certain items, beating expectations for 21 cents a share. Perhaps more importantly, Netflix announced that it had added 3 million customers.
Caterpillar Inc. rose 2.8 per cent, even as the mining equipment maker reported a 45 per cent decrease in earnings, a 17 per cent decrease in revenues and lowered expectations for full-year earnings amid slumping mining operations. However, Caterpillar reported that year-over-year sales in China rose and the company is also optimistic about the U.S. housing market.