U.S. stocks mostly climbed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 extending gains into a fourth session, as General Electric and Morgan Stanley were among the corporations reporting quarterly results that topped expectations.
"Earnings last night were pathetic and sad, and today they are not so bad," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
"I'm happy to see GE have good earnings today. It's hard to think of a business they are not involved in. They are just a great synthetic play to everything in the world. The other thing that was a surprise was that Morgan Stanley actually reported good earnings on fixed income," he added.
Goldman Sachs gained after reporting an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit, as the brokerage's results surpassed estimates. UnitedHealth also reported a decline in first-quarter earnings, with its shares fallilng. Chipotle Mexican Grill shares rallied after the burrito chain tallied first-quarter sales that beat expectations. GE gained after posting a profit that edged beyond estimates. Morgan Stanley rose after the investment bank reported a gain in first-quarter income.
"The limbo stick is lying on the floor right now. They are just stepping over it," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, referring to the low expectations set ahead of first-quarter earnings.
"This is a stock market that got ahead of itself; the earnings have to catch up," Ablin added.
"IBM is certainly weighing on the Dow, and Google is weighing on the Nasdaq," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, of the technology companies that reported disappointing results after Wednesday's close.
"Earnings so far haven't been all that negative, at least among the big names, so perhaps some of the worries were somewhat unfounded. But we're just at the beginning and we still have some big names to view," said Cardillo.