The S&P 500 swung between gains and losses today after climbing 1 percent yesterday, its biggest gain in more than a month. Health-care, technology and energy companies led declines among the 10 main groups in the S&P 500. Apple Inc. was little changed after climbing as much as 1.9 percent amid speculation the company will return more cash to shareholders. Legg Mason Inc. fund manager Bill Miller told the Financial Times the stock may be worth 50 percent more than its current price if the company puts future free cash flow into its dividend.
Walt Disney Co., the largest entertainment company, advanced 0.8 percent as earnings topped estimates and the interactive unit reported its first profit while new theme-park attractions drew more tourists. Zynga Inc. rallied 11 percent after the biggest maker of online social games reported fourth- quarter profit and sales that surpassed projections as it cut costs. Time Warner Inc. gained 4.5 percent after earnings beat estimates on gains in fees paid by satellite and cable companies.
Twenty-four companies in the S&P 500 are due to release results today. Earnings per share have topped the average analyst estimate at about 74 percent of companies in the index that have posted results so far in the reporting season, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Royal Imtech NV, the Dutch provider of infrastructure for stadiums whose shares sank 48 percent on Feb. 4 after predicting writedowns exceeding 100 million euros ($136 million), dropped 9.5 percent as the chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Imtech Deutschland left.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, rose 1.1 percent after earnings beat estimates. Hargreaves Lansdown Plc rallied 11 percent as earnings at the U.K.’s largest retail broker also topped estimates. ICAP Plc, the world’s biggest broker of transactions between banks, surged 5.3 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 3.8 percent to the highest close since September 2008 as Toyota Motor Corp. raised its profit forecast.