U.S. stocks closed mixed after wavering between gains and losses Tuesday, as major companies reported mixed quarterly results and economic data came out slightly downbeat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 59.66 points, or 0.33 percent, to 18,036.70. The S&P 500 inched up 3.41 points, or 0.16 percent, to 2,095.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 10.96 points, or 0.22 percent, to 4,977.29.
Big companies’ earnings for the first quarter of 2015 were in focus on Tuesday. Before opening bell, both JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo have reported their quarterly earnings, which beat analysts’ previous estimates.
JPMorgan’s net income of the first quarter in 2015 rose to 5. 914 billion U.S. dollars, or 1.45 dollars per share, which topped Wall Street’s forecasts for 1.40 dollars per share. Its shares rose 1.56 percent to 63.04 dollars apiece.
Wells Fargo, the third largest U.S. bank by assets, posted quarterly earnings of 1.04 dollars per share, which was lower than the 1.05 dollars per share earnings in the first quarter of 2014 but was still higher than market forecast. Its quarterly revenue was up 3 percent from the previous year, above estimates as well. Its shares, however, dipped 0.73 percent to 54.19 dollars apiece.
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson reported quarterly sales of 17.4 billion dollars, 4.1 percent lower than those of the first quarter in 2014, as the company faced headwinds from the impact of a strong dollar. Its shares edged down 0.03 percent to 100.52 dollars apiece.
Latest data from Thomson Reuters showed that the blended earnings in the first quarter of 2015 are expected to decline 2.7 percent year on year, while the revenue is forecast to decrease 2. 8 percent. Excluding the energy sector, however, the earnings growth estimate is a 5.6-percent gain, with a revenue increase of 2.9 percent.
On the economic front, retail sales for March showed an increase of 0.9 percent from the previous month, slightly below expectations of 1.1 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
“Normally, a 0.9 percent retail sales increase in a month can be described as strong, but not this time, because the rise failed to reverse even half of the prior three months’ weakness. As it is, sales were extraordinarily weak in the first quarter, which fell 5. 0 percent,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2 percent in March, in line with analysts’ expectations and snapping a four- month losing streak, said the U.S. Labor Department. Enditem