US Markets

Stocks extended their rally this year on the heels of reinvigorated economic strength and better-than-expected corporate earnings, setting record highs in April.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.56 percent, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index picked up 3.93 percent. The NASDAQ Composite led, bounding 4.90 percent higher.

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Entering the month, investors were worried after the release of a poor February jobs report and other disappointing economic data. But sentiment quickly reversed, following a wave of upbeat news.

Investor Enthusiasm

The early-month rally was supported by comments that a trade deal may be imminent. Stocks inched higher, as earnings season began on a mixed note. But as more companies reported, investor enthusiasm increased as more firms checked in with better-than-expected numbers and raised 2019 guidance.

Strong earnings reports suggest to some investors that the consensus view of first-quarter economic growth may have been overly pessimistic.

Earnings, Earnings, Earnings

Through April 26th, 46 percent of companies in the S&P 500 index had reported earnings for the January-through-March quarter. Of those, 77 percent posted earnings above estimates; though, there was a sprinkling of big disappointments, according to FactSet Research.

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