U.S. Stocks Stave Off Bear Attack as Trade Risks Linger; Waves and Bitcoin Cash Lead Tepid Crypto Market Recovery
Stocks struggled to hold their ground Wednesday after an earnings boost failed to offset concerns about slowing global growth and a lack of progress in U.S.-China trade talks. An early rally in cryptocurrencies mostly faded by the afternoon, though bitcoin cash and Waves maintained sizable gains over the continuous 24-hour cycle.
Stocks Hold Gains
The Dow and S&P 500 Index held on to gains Wednesday but finished well off session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 171.14 points, or 0.7%, to 24,575.62. The blue-chip index was up nearly 300 points during the morning session.
The broad S&P 500 Index turned positive in the final hour of trading. It finished with a gain of 0.2% at 2,638.70. Gains were largely concentrated in consumer staples and utilities, sectors known for their defensive posture.
A weak performance in communication services kept the Nasdaq Composite Index under pressure. The tech-laden average managed to rise 0.1% by the close to finish at 7,026.77.
Corporate Earnings Shine
Stock prices opened sharply higher on Wednesday after a string of corporate earnings reports came in better than expected. Dow blue-chip IBM Corp (IBM) reported stronger than expected top-and bottom-line results and gave strong guidance for the rest of the year.
Comcast Corp (CMCSA) said strong performances from its NBCUniversal media and internet business units fueled profitability during the fourth quarter. Price hikes helped Dow bellwether Procter & Gamble (PG) top analysts’ estimates on revenue and profitability.
S&P 500 companies are on track for another quarter of solid earnings growth. The Q4 blended earnings growth rate for U.S. large gaps is 10.6%, based on 11% of companies that have reported so far, according to FactSet. Roughly three-quarters (76%) of companies have posted better than expected profit results. More than half (56%) have also reported positive revenue surprises.
Cryptocurrencies: A Mixed Bag
Crypto markets mostly languished on Wednesday, as bitcoin and the major altcoins posted mediocre results. Bitcoin, the largest of the cryptocurrencies, fell back below $3,600 in the afternoon session. Its share of the overall market also declined slightly to 52.3%.
Despite its weak performance, bitcoin could be in the process of bottoming out in the short term, according to a recent analysis of the GTI Global Strength Technical. Indicator. Bitcoin’s GTI approached 35 on Tuesday, putting it close to oversold levels. The last time this happened, in December, bitcoin staged a large relief rally.
Bitcoin cash performed well early in the session, rising more than 7% to break out of a huge trend line. At the time of writing, BCH was up 3.2% at $133.57.
Waves surged by as much as 20% on positive fundamental drivers, including the re-launch of a developer grant program, technical upgrades and new airdrop details. More on this story: Investors Ride Waves to 16% Growth After Company Announces $3 Million Grant Program.
Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
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