Banks Push U.S. Stocks Higher After Reporting Solid Profits

NEW YORK (AP) -
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U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in morning trading Friday on Wall Street, putting the market on track to erase much of the losses it sustained this week.

Banks led the gains after solid quarterly profit reports from JPMorgan Chase opened the latest round of highly anticipated company earnings.

Energy companies rallied after Chevron said it would pay $33 billion to buy rival Anadarko Petroleum. The sector has been rising as oil prices moved steadily higher throughout the year.

Fears over a global economic slowdown were put in check by a surge in China’s exports in March. That marks a turnaround from a severe contraction in February as the U.S. and China continue negotiating a resolution to their costly trade war. Indexes in Europe and Asia rose broadly.

Investors continue focusing on company earnings reports due over the next few weeks in hopes of gleaning clues about the trajectory of the U.S. economy. Citigroup, UnitedHealth Group and Johnson & Johnson are among the larger companies releasing results next week.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of 11:30 a.m. The index erased its losses for the week and is now on track to post its third consecutive weekly gain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 192 points, or 0.7%, to 26,332, riding on gains from Disney, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase. It’s still down slightly for the week. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.

ANALYST’S TAKE: The market is coming off a wobbly week as investors worried that the early first-quarter earnings reports would come in even weaker than the low expectations analysts already have.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, said the solid results from major banks Friday were encouraging, but investors need to see more.

“In general, you need to have the financial companies participate in order for a market advance to continue,” Stovall said. “Investors will be waiting, listening for other news that would be beneficial not only to banks, but to industrial and technology stocks.”

OIL! Anadarko Petroleum surged 33% as Chevron moved in with a $33 billion buyout that will give it a stronger position in the energy-rich Gulf of Mexico and Permian Basin region in Texas.

Oil prices have surged about 40% so far this year, sending energy company revenues higher and giving them more funds for investment.

Pioneer Natural Resources rose 9.6% and Devon Energy rose 5.8%. Chevron was one of the few decliners in the sector. It shed 5.3%.

MAKING BANK: JPMorgan Chase rose 4.2% after reporting solid profits in the first quarter. It is the first major bank to release financial results.

Wells Fargo initially rose after its results beat analysts’ forecasts, but it turned lower in mid-morning trading and was down 3.1%.

Both reports show that higher interest rates during the quarter drove increases in revenue. Those higher rates allow banks and financial companies to charge more for loans and credit cards.

Bank of America rose 2.8% and Citigroup rose 2%.