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Stocks close with rebound from Friday slump

Fifteen percent of students majoring in general business

Fifteen percent of students majoring in general business marry someone within their major. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

The stock market bounced back Monday from its big drop Friday after getting a boost from some good first-quarter earnings reports.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 230.5 points, or 1.3 percent, at nearly 18,056.8. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 20.5 points, or nearly 1 percent, to 2,101.7. The Nasdaq composite added 56.6 points, about 1.2 percent, to 4,988.4.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil ended the day up 64 cents to close at $56.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, was unchanged at $63.45 a barrel in London.

Stocks were recovering from a big slump on Friday when worries about the unresolved Greek debt crisis and some disappointing earnings reports rattled financial markets.

Toymaker Hasbro Monday reported an unexpected gain in sales on the back of strong demand for its Transformer, Nerf and Marvel toys. Oil and gas services company Halliburton and investment bank Morgan Stanley also reported results that we're better than analysts were expecting.

This week is one of the busiest for first-quarter earnings with 147 companies, nearly a third of those in the S&P 500, scheduled to report results. Investors are expecting weak earnings because a surge in the dollar is hurting overseas sales. A big drop in oil prices is also hitting energy companies.

Currently, analysts are predicting earnings per share will slide by an average 2.6 percent for S&P 500 companies in the first quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ data. If that forecast holds, it will mark the first period that earnings have contracted since the third quarter of 2009, when the U.S. was emerging from the Great Recession.

Stocks have moved between big upswings and losses for much of the year, and the S&P 500 has gained only 2 percent so far in 2015.

Not all investors are positive on the near-term outlook for stocks. Michael Scanlon, a senior investment analyst at John Hancock Asset Management, says stocks will likely continue to struggle to advance as long as the debt situation in Greece remains unresolved and earnings at U.S. companies remain weak.

"I feel like the first half of this year . . . is going to turn out to be a pretty bumpy period for equities," Scanlon said.


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