After record rallies last week took benchmarks to fresh highs, the stock market today took a breather.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave back 18.70, or 0.12%, to 14,955.26. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched higher by 1.55, or 0.10%, at 1,615.96. The Nasdaq eked out a 0.28%, or 9 -point gain, at 3,388.14.
Stocks surged Friday after the April jobs report handily beat expectations. The Dow broke 15,000 for the first time, and the S&P surpassed and finished above 1,600. For the week, the Dow added 261 points, or 1.8%, at 14,973.96. The S&P tacked on 32 points, or 2%, at 1,614.42. Helped by tech, the Nasdaq gained 99 points, or 3%, at 3,378.63.
"I think investors got a lift in their step from Friday's jobs report," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott told CNN Money. "[But] this week, we're absent anything newsworthy."
Indeed, the week's economic calendar is quiet, and earning season is winding down. Notable reports this week include The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) on Tuesday; Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH) and Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) on Wednesday; and Priceline.com Inc. (Nasdaq: PCLN) on Thursday.
While the number of companies that have reported this season nearly doubled from 855 in 2009 to 1,655, the percentage that have beaten estimates remains at the same 59%. Moreover, just 52% have beaten revenue estimates, compared to the average of 60% since the bull market began in 2009, data from Bespoke Investment Group reveals.
That supports the consensus view that the Fed's market-friendly stimulus measures are driving stocks.
But will the gains stick?
For just the sixth time in 30 years, markets were up in January, February, March and April, according to Schaffer Investment Research. May got off to a robust start, but a cache of analysts are warning of a looming pullback.
Making News in the Stock Market Today
- Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B) was boosted 1,746, or 1.07%, after reporting Q1 profit jumped 51%. The conglomerate earned $4.9 billion, or $2,977 per Class A shares, up $3.3 billion or $1,966 from a year ago. Berkshire insurance companies, benefiting from no major losses, generated $901 million in underwriting profits, far ahead of last's year's $54 million. Berkshire's investment and derivatives portfolio value surged to $1.1 billion from $580 million. Shares hit an intraday 52 week high of $166,869.
- Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) added $7.69, or 1.17% after Barclays raised its price target by 13% to $525 from $465. Also lifting shares of the iPhone maker was snagging the top spot on Barron's list of 500 America's Top Companies.
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) made another list. The retail behemoth, with $469.2 billion in revenue last year, claimed the top spot in the Fortune 500 ranking of the largest U.S. companies by revenue. Shares were last changing hands at $79.13, just shy of its 52-week high of $79.50.
- Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) joined Fortune's list for the first time, landing at No. 482. But shares tumbled more than 2% following a Barron's article claiming shares of the social networking leader, trading at a rich 50 times projected 2013 profits, remain overvalued and are worth no more than $25.
- Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) shares were little changed after logging strong gains late Friday as shareholders voted to oust longtime chairman Ray Irani. Forced out as CEO last year amid strong objection to his lofty compensation, Irani's departure paves the way for splitting up the company.
- Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), beaten down after last week's Q1 earnings missed by a penny, got a lift after the pharmaceutical giant said it will begin selling its popular erectile dysfunction pill Viagra directly on its website. It becomes the first drug company to deal directly with customers. Men still need a prescription, but bashful ones won't have to face a pharmacist to get it filled. As for the steep $25-a-pill price, Pfizer is offering three free pills with the first order and 30% off the second.
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