US stocks reversed earlier declines in a volatile trading session as healthcare stocks rebounded from the previous session on strong earnings by Merck.
Drugmaker Merck &Co advanced more than 6% after boosting its annual profit forecast on the back of estimate-topping quarterly profits.
“It appears that consumers are not spending on big-ticket items, while confidence also dropped. In the next month or so, if we do not see improved economic numbers, markets might see a deeper correction, as a lot of investors had been expecting consumer spending to pick up,” Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategists at CMC Markets, told Market Watch
The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index was trading higher by 2 points or 0.2% at 2112.59 with majority of the benchmark index’s key indexes trading higher.
Including results from the 250 S&P components that have reported, overall earnings for the January-March period are set to fall by 1.8% on a year on year basis.
Analysts polled by the Wall Street Journal had estimated a 4.6% decline going into the earnings session on a stronger dollar and the ongoing oil glut.
“We’ve seen how much the dollar has rallied and it has been widely discussed,” Jack Caffrey, equity portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, told the Wall Street Journal.
“The fact that the strong dollar is impacting results…is becoming a little less of a shock,”
The Nasdaq Composite was mostly flat in record territory edging up just 2 points or 0.02% to 5063.97.
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