Wonderful world of Disney earnings surprise boosts Wall Street

Visitors to the Disney Springs shopping and dining district during their vacation at Walt Disney World after a phased reopening from Covid-19 restrictions in Lake Buena Vista, Florida July 11, 2020. — Reuters pic
Visitors to the Disney Springs shopping and dining district during their vacation at Walt Disney World after a phased reopening from Covid-19 restrictions in Lake Buena Vista, Florida July 11, 2020. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Aug 6 — US stocks climbed yesterday on the heels of a surprise quarterly profit from Disney and as investors stayed optimistic that a deal was near for a US coronavirus fiscal aid package.

Walt Disney Co's shares jumped 8.80 per cent, to put it among the biggest boosts to the S&P 500 and Dow. The stock notched its biggest daily percentage gain since March 24 as revenue declines for Disney parks and media networks were not as bad as feared.

“That is helping the Dow and that has been a laggard versus the S&P this year, but it is more than that,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird in Milwaukee. “At a time when everyone is talking about how big and how important these megacaps are to the S&P, kind of quietly you are starting to see a little bit of a leadership rotation.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 373.05 points, or 1.39 per cent, to 27,201.52, the S&P 500 gained 21.26 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 3,327.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.23 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 10,998.40.

Square Inc surged 7.10 per cent after the payments processor reported a 64 per cent rise in second-quarter revenue, as consumers increased online buying and used its peer-to-peer Cash App platform during the pandemic.

As quarterly results have come in better-than-feared and heavyweight technology and technology-related companies have surged, a heavy dose of fiscal and monetary stimulus have helped fuel a rally in equities to bring the S&P 500 to less than 2 per cent from its closing record on Feb. 19.

With 384 companies in the S&P having reported earnings through Wednesday morning, results are coming in 23.5 per cent above expectations, in aggregate, according to Refinitiv data, the highest on record back to 1994.

Economic data painted a mixed picture, as US services industry activity gained momentum in July, according to an ISM survey, with new orders jumping to a record high. However, hiring declined, supporting views that a recovery in the labour market was faltering.

Earlier, the ADP National Employment Report, which can be an inconsistent precursor to the government payrolls report set for Friday, showed US private employers hired far fewer workers than expected last month.

“We know we had this tremendous rebound off the lows but what we need now is sustained strength,” said Delwiche.

Friday is being viewed as a deadline by one of the lead negotiators for the White House and some Senate Republicans in talks with congressional Democrats on a fresh round of coronavirus aid, or talks will be scrapped.

Financials, industrials and materials , that track economic growth, outperformed among the major S&P sectors.

Teladoc Health Inc fell 19.01 per cent after agreeing to buy chronic care provider Livongo Health Inc in a deal valuing the company at US$18.5 billion (RM billion), betting on a boom in online care and consultations spurred by the coronavirus crisis. Livongo shares fell 11.40 per cent.

Electric truck maker Nikola Corp slumped 9.81 per cent after it reported a bigger quarterly loss in its first results as a listed entity.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.47-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.14-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 50 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 208 new highs and 10 new lows.

About 10.09 billion shares changed hands in US exchanges, compared with the 10.43 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions. — Reuters

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