US stocks advance for a fifth day amid improving corporate earnings

Asian stocks subdued in holiday thin trade

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photograph: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 20:27

US stocks rose in early trading yesterday, with the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index poised for its longest streak since October, amid signs of improving corporate earnings.

Newmont Mining advanced 6.2 per cent as it discussed a possible merger with Barrick Gold , which decreased 3.8 per cent to $17.29.

Halliburton climbed 2.8 per cent after forecasting profit growth for the second quarter.

Athenahealth fell 5.3 per cent after reporting quarterly earnings that missed projections.

SunTrust Banks rose 1.9 per cent to $38.68 after its results, while Hasbro rose 1 per cent to $55.14 after its earnings beat expectations.

Trading volume was lighter than usual, with financial markets in European and many Latin American countries remaining closed for the Easter holiday. Financial markets in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand were among those closed.

Asian stocks fell, with the regional gauge heading for its first drop in four days, led by healthcare stocks and information technology shares. Ono Pharmaceutical fell 2.9 per cent in Tokyo to lead losses among healthcare stocks. Indian software maker Wipro declined 5.6 per cent in Mumbai as a first-quarter sales forecast disappointed investors.

Japanese consumer-loan providers Acom and Aiful each jumped 7.7 per cent after the Nikkei newspaper reported that tight lending restrictions may be loosened.
– (Reuters, Bloomberg)