Markets closed higher on Thursday, on hopes of a robust earnings season and easing geopolitical tensions after U.S President Donald Trump tweeted that a military strike on Syria may not be imminent. The easing geopolitical tensions reinstated investors’ confidence, as they switched focus to the earnings season. The rally in market was driven by a jump in bank stocks, led by J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 1.2%, to close at 24,483.05. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% to close at 2,663.99, led by financial stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 7040.25, increasing 1%. A total of 6.12 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.27 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a 1.20-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.84-to-1 ratio favored advancing issues.

How did the Benchmark Perform?

The Dow gained 293.60 points as geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia eased following Trump’s tweet that a missile attack on Syria may not be imminent. Moreover, optimism around earnings season gave investors’ confidence a boost, with all three major indexes closing the day higher.

The S&P 500 closed 21.82 points higher, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) and Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) gaining 1.8% on robust earnings season expectations. Shares of Goldman Sachs GS jumped more than 2%. Goldman Sachs has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Six of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors ended the day in positive territory.Also,The Nasdaq gained 71.22 points.

Geopolitical Tensions Ease

Geopolitical tensions, escalated on Wednesday following Trump’s tweet warning Russia of a possibly military action in Syria. However, on Thursday, Trump’s tweet came to the rescue of the markets.

Investors, who panicked on Wednesday, finally felt confident after Trump’s in a tweet said: “Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!’’ This reinstated investors’ confidence, leading to a rally in U.S stocks after a day of decline.

Optimism Surrounding Earnings

With geopolitical tensions easing, investors focus shifted to earnings season. The high expectations from this season’s earnings saw the markets rallying, led by bank stocks. Total Q1 earnings for the S&P 500 index are expected to be up +16% from the same period last year on +7.4% higher revenues, the highest quarterly earnings growth pace in seven years (read more).

The Q1 earnings season will be in full swing from Friday, with major banks like Citigroup C, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo WFC scheduled to report their quarterly numbers. The finance sector is expected to give come up with a strong show in Q1 and the coming quarters. This saw shares of J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs jumping 2.5%, 3.2% and 2.6% respectively.

Stocks That Made Headlines

BP, Petrobras Ink MoU for Cooperation in Business Ventures

BP plc BP and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. PBR, also known as Petrobras, have formed a strategic alliance to appraise potential business ventures in Brazil and beyond. (Read More)

McDermott Provides Q1 Operational Update, Stock Jumps

McDermott International, Inc. MDR recently provided first-quarter 2018 operational update. (Read More)

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