Stocks rose yesterday after oil prices had their steepest decline this year and companies such as Verizon Communications and Corning reported better-than-expected results.
"Profit growth continues to significantly outpace expectations, and the first quarter is no exception," said Scott Pape, who helps manage $1.5 billion at CastleArk Management in Chicago. "We see this as a good opportunity, with profits up and stocks down for the year, to be net buyers here."
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Stocks fell earlier after an unexpected drop in orders for durable goods signaled that economic growth may be slowing. Benchmarks rebounded as energy prices extended their losses.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 4.64, or 0.4 percent, to 1156.38. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 47.67, or 0.5 percent, to 10,198.80. A retreat in shares of Amazon.com, which said earnings this quarter will fall, limited gains in the Nasdaq composite index, which rose 2.99, or 0.2 percent, to 1930.43.
Verizon gained $1.22, or 3.6 percent, to $35.22, for the biggest gain in the Dow average. The largest U.S. telephone company said first-quarter profit increased to 63 cents a share, beating the average analyst estimate of 60 cents in a Thomson Financial survey.
An index of telecommunications companies advanced 1.8 percent, for the best performance among 10 industry groups in the S&P 500. SBC Communications, which will be the biggest U.S. phone company after its $16 billion purchase of AT&T, rose 28 cents, to $23.44. BellSouth shares increased 36 cents, to $26.36.
Corning gained $1.01, to $13.57. The world's biggest maker of fiber-optic cable reported second-quarter profit that exceeded analysts' estimates.
Amazon.com slid 99 cents, to $31.72. The world's largest Internet retailer said second-quarter operating profit will drop to $50 million to $80 million from $86.3 million a year ago. First-quarter earnings fell 30 percent.
Aflac, the world's largest seller of supplemental health insurance, climbed $3.48, or 9.6 percent, to $39.63.
The New York Stock Exchange composite index fell 1.00, to 7010.21; the American Stock Exchange index fell 5.24, to 1443.59; and the Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 0.52, to 587.14.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by 7 to 6 on the NYSE, where trading volume rose to 1.69 billion shares, from 1.57 billion on Tuesday. On the Nasdaq Stock Market, decliners outnumbered advancers by 5 to 4 and volume totaled 1.8 billion, up from 1.7 billion.
The price of the Treasury's 10-year note rose $2.81 per $1,000 invested, and its yield fell to 4.23 percent, from 4.27 percent on Tuesday.
The dollar fell against the Japanese yen and rose against the euro. In late New York trading, a dollar bought 105.72 yen, down from 105.93 late Tuesday, and a euro bought $1.2938, down from $1.2974.
Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery settled at $51.61, down $2.59, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold for current delivery fell to $433.00 a troy ounce, from $437.90 on Tuesday, on the New York Mercantile Exchange's Commodity Exchange.