Wall Street Daily

Earnings Parade Continues: Apple, AmEx, and Yum Top Forecasts

Earnings season is in full swing.

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) easily topped expectations. It sold nearly 19 million iPhones in the first three months of the year. That’s a 113% jump from a year ago. About 4.7 million iPads were sold in a quarter where a new iPad went on sale.

There’s some speculation supply issues may have prevented sales from being even stronger. The company’s outlook is on the bottom end of analyst forecasts.

American Express (NYSE: AXP) exceeded profit targets thanks to a jump in card spending and a precipitous drop in money set aside to cover bad loans.

Meanwhile, Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM), operator of fast food chains KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut benefitted from a double-digit jump in sales within China, which offset a weak U.S.

It was a strong day for commodities. Gold touched $1,500 an ounce for the first time ever as investors worry about inflation. A weaker dollar also supported those gains.

Gregg Hernandez is managing director of the Market Intelligence Desk at the Nasdaq.

“I think that gold might be due for a pullback precisely because I think that the current strength might be a reflection of the rejuggling of various currency pairs. I think it’s a reflection of some investors not seeing a compelling reason to own the dollar, not seeing a compelling reason to own the euro.”

Crude oil prices surged back above $111 a barrel after government data showed a big drop in U.S. inventories.

Turning to equities, earnings were the main catalyst for a powerful rally. Wall Street had its best one-day gain in a month, with the Nasdaq up two percent.

European action was even stronger with a 3% rally in Germany and a 2.5% gain in France.

Bottom line: After-hour earnings from Apple, American Express and Yum Brands keep Wall Street bulls happy; Gold hits $1,500, oil tops $111; Wall Street rallies sharply as Intel gives confidence a shot in the arm.