In the stock market, technology shares rose 1.3% as a group for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 as eight of the 10 main industries retreated. IBM surged 5.1% to $206.02, the biggest jump since July 2011, after the world’s biggest computer-services provider forecast profit that exceeded analyst estimates. The gain in the IBM, which accounts for almost 12% of the price-weighted Dow, added more than 76 points to the 30-stock average, leaving it up 68.89 points at 13,781.10 even as 17 stocks in the measure retreated.
Google Inc. rose 6.4%, the most in more than a year, after the profit topped analysts’ estimates as advertisers boosted spending to reach consumers during the holidays.
Apple Inc. climbed 1.4% before the largest company by market value reports results after the close of U.S. trading today, with analysts forecasting the first drop in profit in a decade. Fiscal first-quarter net income slipped 2% to $12.8 billion, or $13.48 a share, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. In all except one quarter since 2003, profit has jumped more than 10%. Analysts project sales will rise 18% to $54.8 billion, the slowest growth rate since 2009.
Per-share earnings have exceeded analysts’ projections at about 76% of the 101 companies in the S&P 500 that have released results so far, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Profits at companies in the index are forecast to exceed $1 trillion this year, according to more than 11,000 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings have grown 20% for the group amid a 4.5% increase in sales. More than 30 companies in the S&P 500 are reporting today.
Among European stocks, TUI AG and TUI Travel Plc fell more than 4.8% as the former retreated from a plan to combine with the latter, a week after the two travel companies said they were in preliminary merger talks.
Novartis AG, Europe’s biggest drugmaker, climbed 4.1% after reporting earnings that beat projections and saying Chairman Daniel Vasella will step down. Unilever gained 2.4% as the world’s second-largest consumer-goods maker reported faster-than-estimated revenue growth.