The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI), NASDAQ, and S&P 500 each settled with fractional losses of -0.2% on Wednesday and market breadth was flat even, with nearly an identical number of advancing and declining issues. But markets continued to have significant volatility in single-stock issues during the heaviest three-day stretch of first-quarter (Q1) earnings reports this season.
This dynamic will be highlighted on Thursday with both significant gains and losses in numerous high profile names.
After the close Wednesday, earnings reports from both Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) are being cheered by investors, with gains in pre-opening trading of +5% and +8%, respectively. Microsoft has closed at an all-time high each of the last 2 days, and could very well likely do so again on Thursday.
Unrelated to earnings, Occidental Petroleum (OXY) has set off an old fashioned bidding war in the Oil Patch with an offer of cash and stock for Anadarko Petroleum (APC) that is valued at a significant premium to the proposed bid from Chevron (CHV) just one week ago. Anadarko (APC) rallied +10% on Wednesday in response.
On the negative side, 3M (MMM), a long-standing component of the DJIA, released earnings this morning that have set off a decidedly negative reaction from investors with the stock lower by more than -15% in pre-opening trading. Their conference call was scheduled for 9:00 am this morning, and will certainly garner plenty of attention.
Amazon Inc. (AMZN) is scheduled to release their Q1 earnings after the close of trading this afternoon. It appears that expectations are high, as the stock has rallied +12% over the last 6 weeks to close at its highest level since the first week of October last year.
Never a dull moment.