Stocks threw a party Thursday.
The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all had solid gains, defying a shrinking economy and celebrating better-than-expected earnings from a host of tech companies, including Facebook-parent Meta Platforms. Three more tech heavyweights—Apple, Amazon, and
—report after the closing bell.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 615 points, or 1.9%, while the S&P 500 gained 2.5%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.1%. The trading day was much different than Wednesday, when the indexes shot higher out of the gate, before the gains faded. The Nasdaq even set a record low for the year.
For tech stocks, “a lot of these names [had] sold off quite a bit,” said Larry Adam, chief investment officer at Raymond James. “The bar [for earnings] had been lowered. Some of these names …were clearly oversold.”
That set the stage for gains on Meta Platforms’ (ticker: FB) earnings.
The social media giant’s earnings report showed a profit of $2.72 a share, beating estimates of $2.56 a share, on sales of $27.91 billion, below expectations for $28.2 billion. Sales grew 7% year over year, and the company’s guidance for the current quarter was $29 billion, at the midpoint of its previous range. That represents flat growth over last year. The stock, which had already lost almost half its value for the year coming into earnings, jumped 18% on Thursday.
That helped send the Nasdaq higher, as the company’s $475 billion market capitalization as of Wednesday’s close was just over 2% of the Nasdaq’s aggregate market cap.
But it wasn’t just Meta Platforms’ heavy weighting in the index that caused it to jump. The results were strong enough to spur confidence in earnings growth for other internet stocks.
(SNAP) stock gained 6.4%, while
“Meta investors are breathing a sigh of relief as today’s numbers were no worse than feared,” wrote New York Stock Exchange strategists. “This is helping pull other names higher as well.”
And tech stocks outside of the internet business were also moving higher. Qualcomm (QCOM) stock jumped 9.7% after reporting a profit of $3.21 a share, beating estimates of $2.91 a share, on sales of $11.16 billion, above expectations for $10.6 billion. Partly driving the overall sales beat was a QTC chip segment with sales of $9.55 billion, beating expectations for $8.86 billion. Those results have helped the iShares Semiconductor Exchange-Traded Fund (SOXX) gain 5.5%.
The S&P 500, which has a chunk of its total market value tied up in technology stocks, has bounced from its low for the year. It has bottomed at just over the 4,170 level three times this year and is now almost 3% from around that point, which it revisited Tuesday.
So coming into Thursday’s trading, the stock market looked “oversold,” according to analysts at Bespoke Investment Group. That means the selling pressure had been intense enough to send the indexes far off course—presenting an opportunity for dip-buyers. The S&P 500’s level was almost 4% below its 50-day moving average before the open — and now it’s 2% under — meaning that it’s below its recent trend. There were more than 223 oversold stocks in the index this morning, up from 57 a week ago, with much of that coming from the technology sector.
No wonder strong earnings reports brought these stocks higher. They had already been reflecting a worst-case scenario, which hasn’t come to fruition.
Elsewhere, real gross domestic product growth for the first quarter was negative 1.4%, missing expectations of a 1.1% gain and far below the previous result of a 6.9% gain. That may sound scary, but there’s good news. Real GDP growth is the growth in total economic output minus inflation, which has recently soared. That caused the real growth rate to be negative, but nominal GDP growth, which shows the gain in total output inclusive of the positive impact of price increases, was much higher.
Blaming inflation is one thing, but a weak exports number also contributed to the decline in the overall result. Exports dropped 5.9% on the back of hurting economic demand overseas in light of the Russia-Ukraine war. Without the export decline, the overall number would have risen 1.7%, noted Mike Reynolds, vice president of investment strategy at Glenmede. “The silver lining is that the U.S. consumer remains healthy,” Reynolds wrote.
Here are five stocks on the move Thursday:
Ford Motor (F) stock fell 1.6% after the company reported a profit of 38 cents a share, beating estimates of 37 cents a share. The company reaffirmed its operating profit forecast for the full year of $12 billion.
Carvana (CVNA) stock declined 2%. Apollo Global Management agreed to help the online used-car retailer with its bond sale to fund the $2.2 billion acquisition of car-auction network ADESA, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Amgen (AMGN) fell 4.3% after the biotech group said it owed more than $7 billion to the Internal Revenue Service, overshadowing the report of profit of $1.5 billion on $6.2 billion in revenue in the first quarter.