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Stock Market News for April 25, 2016

Benchmarks closed mixed on Friday following lower-than-expected earnings results from Microsoft and Alphabet. However, an oil price rally helped boost energy stocks which in turn had a positive impact on key U.S. indexes. The Dow continued to remain above the 18,000 mark with the blue-chip index and the S&P 500 both posting their second successive weekly increases. On the other hand, the Nasdaq, posted its second straight weekly decline.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.1%, to close at 18,003.75. The S&P 500 rose 0.10 points to close at 2,091.58. However, the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,906.23, losing 0.8%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 5.2% to settle at 13.22. A total of around 7.1 billion shares were traded on Friday, higher than the last 20-session average of 6.8 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 67% stocks that advanced, 28% declined.

Shares of Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) slumped 5.4%, following weaker-than-expected earnings reports. Alphabet reported first quarter earnings per share of $6.02 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6.36. The company’s earnings and revenues missed estimates after the company’s traffic acquisition costs increased in a bid to boost mobile advertising services.

Further, Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) shares fell 7.2%, registering its worst one-day fall since Jan 27, 2015, following lower-than-expected earnings results. The company posted third quarter 2016 earnings per share of 62 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 63 cents. Fall in PC sales and stronger dollar hurt its quarterly earnings.

These two key results dragged technology stocks downward. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) fell 1.7% and was the biggest decliner among the S&P 500 sectors. Some of the major components including Facebook, Inc. (FB), Intel Corporation (INTC), Oracle Corporation (ORCL), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) decreased 2.5%, 1%, 0.7%, 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively. Losses in tech companies dragged down the Nasdaq.

However, oil prices increased following a fall in U.S. rig counts and slump in U.S. oil production. Baker Hughes (BHI) reported that U.S. oil rig count posted its fifth straight week drop, declining from 351 to 343. Both the WTI crude and Brent crude rose 1.3% to $43.73 per barrel and $45.11 a barrel, respectively.

Rally in oil prices helped the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to increase 1.5% and emerge as the one of the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Dow components Chevron Corp (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) rose 0.6% and 0.9%, respectively. Other key energy stocks including Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY), Halliburton Company (HAL), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) and EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG) increased 1.7%, 1.3%, 1.7%, 15% and 2.2%, respectively.

In earnings news, shares of McDonald's Corp. (MCD), General Electric Company (GE) and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) declined 0.2%, 0.7% and 0.4% respectively, following disappointing revenue numbers. Shares of Visa Inc (V) plunged 2.1% despite posting encouraging results.

For the week, the Dow and the S&P 500 advanced 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively, while the Nasdaq fell 0.7%. Gains in energy and financials stocks had a positive impact on key U.S. indexes. Moreover, rally in oil prices for the week also boosted investor sentiment. However, slump in technology stocks dragged down the Nasdaq.

Oil prices posted third straight weekly gains due to weaker-than-expected rise in U.S. crude inventories, rise in gasoline consumption and worldwide outages. For the week both the WTI crude and Brent crude rose 8.3% and 4.7%, respectively.

On earnings front, Hasbro Inc. (HAS), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Coca-Cola Company ( KO) and General Motors Company (GM) posted better-than-expected earnings results.

Separately, IBM’s bottom and top line beat estimates, but declined year-over-year which pulled tech stocks down for the week. Meanwhile, Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) posted weaker-than-expected earnings results.

In economic news, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) home builder sentiment index remained flat in April. Housing starts and building permits fell, but existing home sales increased. Initial claims for the week ending April 16 continued to decrease to reach a record low since 1973.

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