Stocks skipped higher yesterday as investors were emboldened by decent earnings, a handful of mergers and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's...
NEW YORK — Stocks skipped higher yesterday as investors were emboldened by decent earnings, a handful of mergers and billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s bid to substantially add to his stake in General Motors.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 127.69 at 10,384.64, largely thanks to the 18 percent rise in Dow component GM’s share price.
Microsoft, also one of the 30 Dow stocks, slipped 15 cents to close at $25.21 a share.
Boeing, also a Dow stock, rose 41 cents to $60.28, a 52-week high and first time over $60 a share since 2001.
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Broader stock indicators were also higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 14.48 to 1,175.65. The Nasdaq composite index rose 29.16 to 1,962.23.
Wall Street enjoyed a broad rally as investors seemed to shrug off some of the worries that have dogged stocks in recent weeks. The possible return of the 30-year bond was the biggest news of the day, but analysts said what really lured back stock buyers from the sidelines was Kerkorian’s commitment to troubled automaker GM. Considered a smart-value investor, Kerkorian’s unexpected move may have restored some faith in the market, which ultimately could turn sentiment around.
“It kind of surprised everyone that someone as savvy as him would talk about increasing his stake in a beleaguered company. It suggested that there is value in this market,” said Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer of Johnson Illington Advisors. “On the days the stock market reverses or changes direction, it’s often hard, historically, to find a reason why, on that day. I used to say the market seems to reach magical moments, and this may very well be one of those magical moments, where the configuration of events is just enough to get investors back on the bandwagon.”
The announcement that the government is considering bringing back the 30-year Treasury rattled the bond market, sending the yield on the 10-year note to 4.19 percent, up from 4.17 percent late Tuesday. Prices of the existing 30-year Treasury also sank.
Oil futures rebounded from earlier lows, rising 63 cents to settle at $50.13 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a weekly government report showed rising supplies of crude oil and gasoline.
“Oil is going to influence us every day, there’s no doubt. Any time we see some drop in oil prices, that’s good for the market,” said Michael Palazzi, managing director of equity trading at SG Cowen Securities. “I think there’s quite a bit of cash on the sidelines taking its cue from the positive news on GM, and from decent earnings projections.”
GM soared $5.03 to $32.80 after Kerkorian’s investment company Tracinda offered to pay about $870 million for a nearly 5 percent stake in the automaker, a deal that would boost the billionaire’s stake to nearly 9 percent. Kerkorian is seeking to purchase 28 million shares at $31 apiece.
Time Warner added 60 cents to $17.28 after the world’s largest media company said its first-quarter earnings rose slightly on growth at its cable networks, cable TV and several one-time gains. Per share earnings beat the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial by a penny a share.
MetLife surged 12 percent, or $4.71, to $43.55, after the insurance company announced a 65 percent surge in first-quarter profits over last year on strong gains across all its business lines.
The company raised its full-year earnings forecast based on the strong results and its planned acquisition of Travelers Life & Annuity and most of the international insurance operations from Citigroup.
Communications-tower-management firm American Tower was down 1 cent at $17.20 after announcing plans to pay $3.1 billion in stock to acquire rival SpectraSite, a Cary, N.C.-based operator of wireless and broadcast signal towers. SpectraSite added 8.9 percent, or $5, to $61.20.