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Stock Market News for Apr 18, 2023

U.S. stocks closed higher on Monday, helped by financial and industrial stocks as investors geared up for a heavy week of earnings and comments from Fed officials that could give them a clearer picture of how long the central bank will continue to hike interest rates. All three major indexes ended in positive territory.

How Did The Benchmarks Perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 0.3% or 100.71 points to finish at 33,987.18 points.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.3% or 13.69 points to end at 4,151.33 points. Real estate and financial stocks were the best performers.

The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR (XLRE) rose 2.3%, while the Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF) gained 1.2%. Eight of the 11 sectors of the benchmark index ended in positive territory.

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The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 0.3% or 34.26 points to close at 12,157.72 points.

The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was down 0.70% to 16.95. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.42-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.61-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues. A total of 10 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 10.8 billion.

Investors Closely Monitor Corporate Earnings

The first-quarter earnings season, which kicked off last week is slowly gathering pace, with a series of big banks reporting corporate results. Investors are closely watching the banks reporting their corporate results as they are trying to gauge the health of the economy.

The earnings season has so far started on an impressive note with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) posting earnings beat last week. This is the first time U.S. banks are reporting quarterly results since regional banks including Silicon Valley Bank failed last month.

The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW), which had come under pressure lately amid fears that it could face a similar fate to Silicon Valley Bank, posted an earnings beat on Monday. The brokerage firm reported first-quarter 2023 adjusted earnings of $0.93 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.90 per share.

Financial stocks mostly gained on Monday but the S&P 500 was dragged down by communication stocks. Google parent Alphabet, Inc. (GOOGL) led the decline, with its shares declining 2.7% on reports that Samsung is planning to make Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Bing its default search engine. This weighed on other tech stocks also. Microsoft has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Meanwhile, the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index jumped for the first time in five months in April. The New York Empire State business index jumped 35.4 points to 10.8 in April from a reading of a negative 24.6 in March. The fresh data is likely to solidify the chances of the Fed raising interest once again at its meeting in May.

No other economic data was released on Monday.

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