April 17 - Summary: The S&P 500 roars back with its best weekly gain since July, while the Nasdaq snaps a three-week slump aided by upbeat earnings from Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and General Electric. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street coasts into the end of a holiday shortened week The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were each little changed. A different story longer term, blue chips had their best week of 2014 and the Nasdaq snapped a three-week slump. First, the economy... A drop in unemployment claims to near pre-recession levels suggests the economy could see faster growth later this year. In a separate report, business activity in the Mid-Atlantic region hit its highest pace in seven months. All eyes on the Twitter of China, Weibo. The company finished its first day of trade after a smaller-than-expected IPO. Weibo is seen as a warm up act for another Chinese IPO Alibaba. That debut is expected to be the largest internet offering since Facebook. Weibo's shares climbed 19 percent. Shares of Google and IBM - down - one day after both tech companies posted disappointing results. But Scott Kessler, senior equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ says, don't read too much into those reports. SOUNDBITE: SCOTT KESSLER, SENIOR EQUITY ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "We've just started earnings season and, I think, it's fair to say that results have been mixed at best. We've seen some high-profile disappointments, and, while it's not so surprising to us, given the fact that, to a large extent, if you look at, say, what folks were thinking about in terms of earnings and revenue growth for the first quarter, really nothing so substantial, and so the fact that companies are disappointing what might have been unrealistic expectations, I don't think should be that surprising to most." Outside of tech, Morgan Stanley beat targets thanks to strength in investment banking. Over at Goldman Sachs, investment banking revenues were the best since the financial crisis. Meanwhile, economic bellwether General Electric posted a 12 percent profit gain. And in non-earnings news... Wal-Mart is launching a new domestic money transfer service called "Walmart-2-Walmart." Starting on April 24th, customers will be able to transfer money to and from more than 4,000 U.S. Wal-Mart stores for less money. The service goes up against traditional money wire services like MoneyGram and Western Union - both of those stocks got whacked. Wal-Mart, by the way, up a fraction of a percent. European shares ended the day higher despite no signs of improvement in Russia-Ukraine tensions.