US Stock Market Gains in Early Trading
The U.S. stock market edged higher Monday as investors looked ahead to a busy week for corporate earnings. Markets in Asia surged after a run of weak economic reports lifted hopes for stimulus in China.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,099 as of 10:09 a.m. Monday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,106, while the Nasdaq composite increased 23 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,019.
The market is coming off a second weekly gain in a row. It hasn’t had a three-week winning streak since late February.
DEAL: Builders FirstSource said it’s buying ProBuild, a supplier of building materials, for roughly $ 1.6 billion in a move to expand its geographic reach. ProBuild Holdings, a private company, runs lumberyards and retail stores across 40 states. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year. Builders FirstSource soared $ 4, or 58 percent, to $ 10.90 in morning trading.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents to $ 52.22 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
LOW BAR: Investors are braced for a tough earnings season, a result of the stronger dollar and low oil prices squeezing revenues. Analysts forecast that companies will report first-quarter earnings shrank 3 percent compared with the same quarter of last year, according to S&P Capital IQ. If those forecasts come true, it would be the first drop in quarterly profits since 2009.
EUROPE: Major stock markets in Europe were mixed. Germany’s DAX was flat, while France’s CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2 percent. A broader measure of European shares, the Stoxx 600, was at record highs, edging up 0.1 percent from a record close set on Friday.
CHINA’S STIMULUS HOPES: Markets in China jumped on expectations that Beijing will launch additional stimulus to spur economic growth. Imports fell 12 percent in March from a year earlier and exports declined 15 percent. That added to signs that growth in the first three months of the year, due to be reported Wednesday, might decline further from the previous quarter’s 7 percent.
ASIA’S DAY: Major indexes in China reached seven-year highs. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.7 percent, closing at its highest level since December 2007. The Shanghai Composite Index surged 2.1 percent, hitting its highest level since March 2008. In South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.5 percent. India’s Sensex added 0.3 percent and Australia’s S&P ASX 200 edged up 0.1 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed the day nearly unchanged.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Prices for U.S. government bonds didn’t move much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 1.95 percent. The dollar rose to 120.69 yen from Friday’s 120.18 yen. The euro slipped to $ 1.0530 from the previous session’s $ 1.0586.