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Stock market today, Feb. 18:U.S. stocks kicked off a shortened trading week predominantly in positive territory, with the Nasdaq making strides even as home builder confidence fell and manufacturing declined more than expected.
The Nasdaq closed up 0.68% at 4,273; the S&P 500 Index closed up 0.13% at 1,841 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.15% at 16,130.
Among several economic indicators today, the National Association of Homebuilders reported that homebuilders' confidence fell to the lowest level in nine months as they expect severe weather dampened home buying in recent months.
And the Empire State manufacturing index fell to 4.5 in February from 12.5 in January, which was more than economists expected.
Energy futures were healthy today, with light sweet crude oil for March delivery settling up 2.1% at $102.43 per barrel and natural gas settling up 6.5% at $5.55 per million BTUs. Heating oil was up 0.4% at $3.09 per gallon.
Meanwhile, most metals futures also pulled a rally. Gold for April delivery was up 0.4% at $1,323.20 per ounce and silver for March delivery was up 2.2% at $21.90 per ounce.
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Stock Market Today Losers: Coca-Cola, Waste Management
Several companies reported market-moving quarterly results today, including the Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), which suffered declines of up to 4% this session after it reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue. Revenue fell 3.6% to $11.04 billion, off the analyst estimate of $11.3 billion.
But Coca-Cola's fourth-quarter earnings rose to $0.46 per share, which matched the Street consensus.
Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) also reported disappointing earnings that sent shares tumbling. WM was down about 5% this session after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of $0.56 per share, down from $0.57 a year prior and off from the $0.60 per share the Street expected.
Waste Management also reported revenue of $3.5 billion, up from $3.4 billion a year prior and a bit short of the $3.58 the Street expected.
For fiscal 2014, Waste Management says it expects earnings of between $2.30 and $2.35 per share, lower than the $2.41 analysts projected.
Finally, Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (NYSE: DRC) was down a good 8% today after it said it will suspend operations at six pig-manure treatment facilities in Spain because of proposed regulations. The company forecast revenue of $3.0 billion to $3.2 billion for fiscal 2014, which lags the Street view of $3.49 billion.
Today's Market Winners: Sony Corp., Forest Laboratories
But a good number of stocks are making strides today. Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) shares were up about 2% this session after the Japanese technology giant reported selling more than 5.3 million PlayStation 4 units as of February 8, making it the number-one selling console in the United States in January.
Other large-cap companies noting gains include Forest Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: FRX) rising more than 28% today. Forest agreed to a $25 billion buyout offer from Actavis. FRX shareholders will receive $26.04 in cash and 0.3306 share of ACT for each share they own now, a total of $89.42 per share.
Finally, Points International (Nasdaq: PCOM) was up about 17% this session, jumping to a nearly six-year high after MasterCard Inc. (NYSE: MA) unveiled enhanced, flexible rewards capabilities for cardholders that will be delivered through Points International.
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