US Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Earnings Flurry

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US Stocks Edge Higher Ahead of Earnings Flurry

US stocks opened slightly higher after three straight sessions of gains with the corporate earnings period set to kick into high gear with a flurry of earnings reports expected this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 25 points or 0.1% at the opening bell to 18,083 points with more than half of its 30 components reporting gains.

The S&P 500 Index inched up 2.8 points or 0.1% to 2105 points with six of its ten main sectors opening higher.

The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced above 5000 points to inch towards its all time high boosted by a rally in internet shares led by Netflix.

Netflix advanced 5.8% in early trading after it was upgraded by analysts while Facebook rose more than 1.5%.

Qualcomm also gained at the bell after comments by an activist investor that the semiconductor giant should consider spinning off its chipset operations as part of its strategic plans to boost shareholder value.

The Nasdaq composite advanced 23 points or 0.5% to 5018.9 points in morning trading to rise to within 0.6% of its 15 year high.

“Investors are perhaps looking for something better than expected in earnings, which would certainly help the market,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co., which oversees $110 billion, told Bloomberg.

“There’s been a pervasive lack of bears, so there’s not much selling going on. Optimism is creeping into the market now.”

According to traders, the market was relatively quiet on Monday, in keeping with recent trends. Reports by the Wall Street Journal indicate that just 5.4 billion shares exchanged hands on Friday- the second lowest volume traded in 2015.

Investors are closely watching first quarter corporate earnings report and waiting for a clear signal on the timing of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy tightening before deciding where to move their money.

“Investors are anticipating the first Fed hike, and that, coupled with pretty full valuations, is going to make for a sideways market for the rest of the year,” Wayne Lin, a portfolio manager at QS Investors, which manages about $19 billion told the Wall Street Journal.

“It’s going to have to be earnings to drive the market higher.”

To contact the reporter of the story: Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com