Stocks up on Apple – then down on Ukraine war threats

Thursday, April 24, 2013 -

Apple’s earnings thrilled the market today, but Ukraine’s 48-hour threat of war took all the air out of the celebration balloon.

The broader market continued to advance in early trading on Apple’s positive earnings report, only to be knocked off balance when news of Ukraine threatening to fight against Russian forces within 48 hours if they do not retreat or explain their exercises near the Ukrainian border.

A strong advance in Apple shares helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq from dropping into the red, as did the microcap and small cap stocks, while the Dow ended the day flat.

The Dow ended unchanged at 16,502, while the Nasdaq climbed 21 points (+0.5%) to 4,148 and the S&P 500 edged up 3 points (+0.2%) to 1,879. The NYSE finished at -0.1% and the small cap Russell 2000 at -0.2%.

Shares of Apple (AAPL) jumped 8.2 percent to their best closing level in four months after the iPod and iPhone maker reported second quarter earnings and revenues that came in above analyst estimates – as one single company helped keep the Nasdaq indexes afloat amid the late day selling.

Today’s economic data, jobless claims and durable goods orders, delivered both negative and positive sentiment – and the markets largely ignored them both.

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Initial Jobless Claims

As we suspected last week when the jobless claims were lower than expected, today’s jobless claims jumped 8% at 329,000 from an upwardly revised 305,000 for last week. We may continue to see unusual reporting of jobless claims next week as well – for some reason, the Department of Labor has always had difficulty adjusting for the Easter holiday.

While we expect layoff levels to stabilize a little lower, if they continue to persist above the 300,000 level be forewarned that it represents . . .

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