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IBM weighs on Dow but other indexes rise

20 April 2017

OIL: Oil prices dropped after the Energy Information Administration said US crude inventories didn't shrink as much as investors hoped they would, and the EIA says the stockpiles are larger than normal for this time of year.

Morgan Stanley helped the rebound, rising almost 3 percent in premarket trading after reporting a surge in quarterly profit.

Index heavyweights Tencent and AIA Group both advanced, rising 1.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively. IBM is the fifth-most influential company in the 30-stock average by this metric, and contributed to a 57-point drag on the average. Six of the index's 10 main groups finished in the red.

Tepid quarterly numbers from Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) raised worries about pricey market valuations and pulled the major USA stock indexes lower on Tuesday. That helped send technology companies higher. Last summer, Roger Ailes resigned as CEO of Fox News after several sexual harassment allegations had been levied against him, and Fox said the release of O'Reilly was part of the company's "consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect".

"I'm actually starting to look at BlackBerry again", he said, adding that he would nevertheless need to see the company return to profitability before buying the stock for clients.

Gold took the brunt of losses, particularly IAMGOLD, down 28 cents, or 4.7%, to $5.71, while Barrick Gold regressed 89 cents, or 3.4%, to $25.48.

The Canadian dollar slipped 0.55 cents at 74.17 cents U.S. Public Service Enterprise Group shed 92 cents, or 2 percent, to $44.42 and beauty products retailer Coty surrendered 35 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $18.06. Its stock jumped $1.77 percent, to 2 percent, to $91.91.

The Dow industrials and the S&P 500 ended lower Wednesday as a drop in oil prices fueled a selloff in energy shares while a drop in International Business Machines Corp. was responsible for half the session's losses in the blue-chip average.

IBM sank 4.9 per cent to US$161.69 after the company reported a bigger-than-expected decline in revenue for the first time in five quarters. Brent crude, used to price global oils, rose 18 cents to $55.07 per barrel in London.

"Certainly oil has been weakening for a couple of days and that has been putting some pressure on things", said Jankovskis.

The gain in financials was underpinned by a three percent jump in shares of Morgan Stanley, which reported a surge in quarterly profit.

This earnings season, one expert opined that 77% of the S&P 500 companies that had already reported topped Wall Street estimates and 58% outperformed sales expectations.

Overall profits of S&P 500 companies are estimated to have risen 10.8% in the quarter - the best since 2011.

The broad-based S&P 500 dipped 0.2 per cent to 2,338.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.2 per cent at 5,863.03.

Mounting tension between North Korea and the United States and political uncertainty in Europe ahead of the French presidential elections had kept safe-havens such as gold and US Treasuries in demand in the past weeks. The stock was on track for its best day in almost two years.

Facebook was up 1.3 per cent and provided the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.