Friday, July 27, 2012

U.S. stocks gain on positive comments from ECB Chief and upbeat U.S. data – ZNGA, STRA, S, FTNT

Stocks reacted positively to comments made by the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, and moved up sharply on Thursday further boosted by a slew of upbeat economic data from the U.S.

The S&P 500 energy index rose 2.7 percent with a rise in energy stocks.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 211.88 points, or 1.67 percent, at 12,887.93. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 22.13 points, or 1.65 percent, at 1,360.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 39.01 points, or 1.37 percent, at 2,893.25.

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Oil giant Exxon Mobil rose by 1.5 percent after reporting strong second quarter profit growth from one-time gains, while 3M, Dow Chemical  and Hershey also posted strong quarterly results

Wall Street traders gained confidence from the remarks made by Draghi at an investment conference in London where he assured the assembled gathering that everything possible would be done to revive the Eurozone, whose continuing woes has cast a shadow over economic recovery in the rest of the globe.

"Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro," Draghi said. "And believe me, it will be enough."

The ECB is scheduled to meet next Thursday to discuss monetary policy and there are hopes of positive action being announced at the meeting.

The U.S. Labour Department also released data which showed that initial jobless claims fell to 353,000 in the weekend to July from the previous week's 388,000, much lower than analyst expectations of 380,000.

A report from the Commerce Department showed a much bigger than expected increase in durable goods orders in the month of June, while the National Association of Realtors released a report showing an unexpected decrease in pending home sales in the month of June.

Major European markets ended positive - the French CAC 40 Index soared 4.1 percent, the German DAX Index jumped 2.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 surged 1.4 percent.

Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) ended lower by about 37.50% after the company posted net income of $7 million or a penny a share, down 96% from a year ago profit of $191 million, or $0.41  a share,, missing analysts’ estimate by a penny. Revenue during the quarter came in at $12.83 billion, up 29% year over year, again missing analysts target of $12.89 billion. For the third quarter, the company projects to generate revenue of between $12.9 billion and $14.3 billion, shy of analysts’ estimate of $14.10 billion.

Strayer Education Inc (NASDAQ:STRA) went down 12.41% to $79.44 after the Company released second quarter results. Revenues decreased 11% to $146.3 million due to lower enrollment. Income from operations was $36.2 million compared to $50.1 million in the prior period. Operating income margin was 24.7% compared to 30.6% in the previous year quarter. Net income was $21.2 million compared to $29.6 million in the same period of 2011. Diluted earnings per share were $1.85 compared to $2.53 for the same period in 2011.

Sprint Nextel Corporation(NYSE:S) ended sharply higher after the company reported strong revenue growth, overshadowing its higher than projected loss and lost more costomers. The company said that incurred a loss of $1.37 billion, or 46 cents a share, compared to a year ago loss of $847 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period, analysts were estimating a loss of 46 cents a share. Revenue at the Overland Park, Kan., company was $8.84 billion, up 6 percent from a year ago. Analysts were expecting $8.72 billion.

Fortinet, Inc.(NASDAQ:FTNT) added 11.88% as the company reported a 25 percent jump in quarterly revenue, helped by higher demand from U.S. enterprise customers. The company said that it earned $19.5 million or 12 cents a share on revenue of $129.0 million in the latest quarter, compared to a year ago profit of $15.3 million or 9 cents a share.

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