Close Update: US Stocks Gain Friday Amid Upbeat Earnings Reports, Surprise Rise in Retail Sales

Last Updated: Friday, October 15, 2021 4:56 PM | MT Newswires

US stocks advanced Friday, stretching a powerful rebound into a second day after September retail sales unexpectedly rose and more companies reported strong earnings.

The reports suggested rising prices and supply chain snags haven't seriously dented demand to this point.

The S&P 500 rose 0.8% to 4471.37, pushing its gain for the week to 1.8% as buyers rushed back in after the market didn't roll over at the midweek lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.1% to 35,294.76 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.5% to 14,897.34.

Financials, industrials, and cyclical consumer stocks led the way, while staples, utilities, and real estate shares struggled.

The 10-year US Treasury yield rose 6 basis points to 1.58%, a bit below recent four-month highs. West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.05 to $82.36 a barrel, near the seven-year high reached this week. Bitcoin jumped 8.2% to $62,225, just off April's record.

US retail sales rose 0.7% in September compared with a 0.2% decline expected in a Bloomberg survey, after an upwardly revised gain of 0.9% for August. Sporting goods and general merchandise retailers saw strong gains. That was in contrast to the downwardly mobile Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, which fell to 71.4 in a preliminary October reading from 72.8 in September. A Bloomberg survey of forecasters estimated an increase to 73.1.

Alcoa (AA) shares soared more than 15% after the aluminum supplier posted third-quarter sales and earnings above estimates. The company also reinstated its dividend and authorized share buybacks, saying it has confidence the sharp upswing in aluminum prices amid strong demand has staying power. Aluminum shipments were down 6% year-over-year amid a shortage of rail cars among other factors, while revenue increased 31% over the same span.

The same pricing dynamic delivered the third-quarter goods for trucking giant J.B. Hunt (JBHT), with intermodal shipment volumes down 6% but segment revenue up 17% and segment operating income up 52% year-over-year. Overall revenue was up 27% and operating income 56%, beating expectations and driving the stock to a record high, up 8.7% Friday.

Wells Fargo (WFC) shares rose 6.8%, more than reversing Thursday's drop in the wake of the bank's better than expected earnings. Amazon.com (AMZN) gained 3.3% and Tesla (TSLA) 3%.

Coinbase Global (COIN) forged a 7.9% gain amid bitcoin's rally, which was fueled by speculation the US Securities and Exchange Commission will not object to the ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF, which is expected to start trading early next week. The ETF, which would trade under the ticker BITO, is backed by bitcoin futures derivatives, in contrast to the bitcoin holdings of the Grayscale Investment Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which charges twice BITO's expected 1% annual fee and remains below net asset value after Friday's gain of 5.6%.

Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic (SPCE) shares plunged nearly 17% after the space tourism company said it grounded its space planes for upgrades following testing data that requires more analysis, with commercial operations not expected to resume until Q4 2022. "The stock has been a top meme board mention for weeks, but without a Captain Kirk moment in the near future apes may struggle to lift this one higher," MT Newswires' Social Buzz noted.

Gold fell 1.7% to $1,768 per troy ounce. Copper gained 2.1% to $4.73 per pound.

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