It’s a mixed picture on Wall Street today, with the Dow rising while the other blue chip stock indices have sunk into the red.
American Express missed the consensus estimate of analysts with its earnings, reporting quarterly profit of $1.21 per share against the steep expectations of $1.26. The company managed earnings of 56 cents a share a year ago, so the latest earnings represents a doubling of quarterly profit from the previous year. Investors have warmed to this, despite the failure to match estimates, and Amex’s share price has climbed 4.8% today.
That has helped to compensate for declines in General Electric, which fell 2.6% despite meeting analyst estimates for earnings and beating with revenue, and Intel, which lost 3.3% after narrowly missing earnings estimates.
Macroeconomic data was a mixed bag today, with housing starts declining last month by a smaller amount than forecast, industrial production data for November confirming the increasing momentum in the manufacturing sector and consumer sentiment dropping in the New Year.
Housing starts for December slipped to a seasonally-adjusted level of 999,000, but this was better than had been expected, and November’s numbers were upwardly-revised from 1,091,000 to 1,107,000.
The University of Michigan’s index of consumer sentiment fell to 80.4 in January’s mid-month reading, well below expectations and down from the 82.5 recorded in December. It’s possible that the unusually cold weather in the US may have dampened consumer spirits and depressed housing starts.
Industrial production rose by 0.3% in November, with utilisation at factories increasing to 79.2% of capacity from 79.1% in the month prior. The manufacturing component increased by 0.4%.