Stocks Turn Higher (4/09)

Stocks turn higher – waiting for Google

By Alexandra Twin, 4/16/09

Better-than-expected results from JPMorgan Chase and anticipation about Google’s profit report later Wednesday propelled the Nasdaq composite and S&P 500.

But weakness in oil services and consumer stocks kept a lid on any gains for the Dow industrials.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 20 points or 0.3% with less than 2 hours left in the session. The S&P 500 (SPX) index added 6 points, or 0.7%. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) added 25 points, or 1.6%.

Stocks gained Wednesday after a Federal Reserve report on the economy added to hopes that the pace of the slowdown is easing. Such hopes have helped bolster the market for nearly six weeks. Since hitting 12-1/2 year lows on March 9, the S&P 500 has risen 25% as of Wednesday’s close.

But gains this week have been minimal as investors have kept an eye on the first big batch of quarterly reports and the latest on the economy.

“The market has clearly surprised everyone to the upside and I think people have to be impressed by the way its been holding on to gains this week,” said David Kreinces, portfolio manager at brokerage ETF PM.

“We should see a pretty good continuation of the rally with people buying on the dips,” he said. “But that’s going to depend on investors grappling with the continued weakness in housing and questions about further bank writedowns.”

Company news: JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) reported a higher-than-expected profit of $2.1 billion, although results were weaker than a year ago. The company benefited from strength in its investment and consumer banking divisions, but also posted $10 billion in credit costs. JPMorgan shares inched higher.

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