US Markets By the Numbers


  Wednesday, 18 Sep 2013 | 1:44 PM ET

S&P heads for best first three quarters since 1997

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano
Getty Images

The stock market gains this year are shaping out to be the best in well over a decade. With September heading toward its close, the S&P 500 is on track for its best first three quarters since 1997.

The index has soared 19.4 percent this year, but how long will the rally continue?

Since 1928, the market has been up this much only 14 other times. In 10 of those instances, the S&P 500 continued to climb in the last quarter of the year, posting an average gain of 6.9 percent.

When the market was down, however, it was down big. Consider two of the last four times the S&P 500 fell in Q4, both of which took place during crash years: Q4 1987 (-23%) and Q4 1929 (-29%).

Bad omen?

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  Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013 | 1:16 PM ET

Are these 3 companies next to lift their dividend?

A jogger runs past signage displayed at the Microsoft Corp. campus in Redmond, Washington.
Mike Fuentes | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A jogger runs past signage displayed at the Microsoft Corp. campus in Redmond, Washington.

Anytime there's a $40 billion transaction being announced, you take notice. That's the case for Microsoft, which set a massive stock buyback program along with a dividend increase on Tuesday, two days ahead of a highly anticipated investor meeting.

Microsoft is trying to make a pledge to shareholders that it will remain friendly by authorizing a $40 billion stock buyback program, replacing the prior $40 billion stock buyback plan set to expire at the end of this month.

It also boosted its quarterly dividend by 22 percent to 28 cents per share. On Thursday this week, shareholders will learn from Microsoft about its plans to replace Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who is expected to retire within a year.

Microsoft is not alone, though; there are a host of other companies that could be candidates for dividend increases.

The Nasdaq Dividend Achievers Index looks at US companies that are traded on either the Nasdaq or NYSE and have raised their yearly dividend payments for at least the last 10 years.

Three of the stocks caught our eye.

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  Monday, 16 Sep 2013 | 9:44 AM ET

S&P 500 winners & losers, five years after Lehman

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano
Lehman Brothers building in New York.
Getty Images
Lehman Brothers building in New York.

Since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy five years ago, a screen of the S&P 500 reveals that only about 20 percent of the index components remain in the red.

According to data compiled by CNBC, a fourth of those companies belong to the financial sector. Shares of Citibank, Bank of America and AIG, for example, are still down more than 37 percent in the last five years while the S&P 500 is up 39 percent over the same period.

Among the winners, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and are the two best performing stocks, rallying more than 1,100 percent. Other consumer names such as Netflix, Chipotle, Whole Foods and Starbucks are also up significantly, rising more than 400 percent.

Indeed, the S&P Consumer Discretionary sector is up 100 percent in the past five years, leading the gains in the S&P 500 –Health Care and Technology follow, up 61 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

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  Monday, 16 Sep 2013 | 12:55 PM ET

What's the investor takeaway from small caps' run?

Arrow up graph
Jpa1999 | E+ | Getty Images

Demand for small-cap stocks is increasing relative to established large-cap names, a divergence that may signal continued investor confidence in U.S.-centered growth.

The Russell 2000 index, which is most sensitive to domestic economic expansion, hit a new record Monday, surpassing its previous high of 1,063.52 on Aug. 5.

The benchmark has gained more than 6 percent in the past three months, compared with gains of 3 percent for the S&P 500 and of 1 percent for the Dow. The Russell has soared 24 percent this year.

Small-cap leadership is usually considered a bullish sign for the overall market, according to market professionals, as the sector is considered a gauge of the health of the domestic economy.

Technology has also been a bright spot for the market in the past three months, with the Nasdaq up 8 percent.

Should investors take any clues from this trend?

Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, holds that improvement in Europe and China should benefit large caps over the next few months, while Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets, says investors should focus on names prone to capital appreciation on a cyclical basis versus defensive stocks, as things appear to stabilize in some emerging economies.

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  Thursday, 12 Sep 2013 | 5:18 PM ET

Will Friday the 13th bring bad luck to the market?

Posted By: Gina Francolla
black cat
Thinkstock Images | Getty Images

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. For the stock market, however, this 'unlucky' day tends to be relatively calm, with average gains of only 0.2 percent or less.

Below is a look at how stocks traded on this superstitious day.

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  Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 | 4:23 PM ET

Apple: Sell the news?

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone products during the announcement.
Getty Images
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone products during the announcement.

When it comes to Apple products announcements, the strategy of "buy the rumor, sell the news" has worked more often than not.

Of the last 10 times Apple has held a special event to unveil a new product, its shares finished the day lower after six of those events, for an average decline of 1.3 percent. The stock fell 2.3 percent Tuesday and was trading lower in premarket trade on Wednesday. (Click here to track its share price.)

The unveil also preceded a trio of downgrades of the company's stock as some investors were left underwhelmed by the product launch.

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  Tuesday, 10 Sep 2013 | 12:35 PM ET

Three not so lucky number with Dow index changes

Debi Bishop | E+ | Getty Images

Not all good things come in threes.

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrial average rejiggered its index, removing Alcoa, Bank of America and Hewlett-Packard. In their place come a new trifecta of Goldman Sachs, Nike and Visa.

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  Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 | 11:54 AM ET

Dog of the Dow: Exxon becomes a blue-chip drag

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Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil and gas concern, has seen its stock close in negative territory in 19 of the past 20 sessions. Since scaling to a five-year high of $95.45 in July, it's been all downhill since then as the stock has tumbled 9 percent.

Exxon's steep slide has cost investors in more ways than one. The oil big was once the world's most valuable company in terms of its market capitalization. Now, at $382 billion, Exxon's market capitalization is well behind technology giant Apple, which enjoys a market cap of about $458 billion.

Over the past 20 sessions, the energy giant has become the worst-performing component of the 30 blue-chip stocks that comprise the Dow Jones industrial average.

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  Tuesday, 6 Aug 2013 | 5:33 PM ET

Short sellers raising bets on S&P 500 stocks

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As the S&P 500 continues to trade near record highs, short interest appears to be on the rise.

According to data from FactSet, in the first half of July average short interest for S&P 500 stocks increased more than 5 percent, with over 55 percent of those companies seeing a spike in short interest.

Short interest measures the total number of shares of a security that have been sold short, expressed as a percent of total tradable shares.

Investors track short interest levels to gain a sense of where a stock might be headed, along with some insight into whether any positive news might force short traders to cover their positions, pushing stocks higher.

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  Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 | 3:41 PM ET

Is the S&P 500 ready for another pullback?

Posted By: Pradip Sigdyal
Adam Gault | OJO Images | Getty Images

While the S&P 500 hits new highs, the number of companies following suit has been decreasing, suggesting that short-term momentum may have peaked.

The stock market is once again flirting with record-high levels since touching a two-month low in mid-June. Small- and mid-cap stocks have led the gains, up 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Investors often look at waning price momentum along with volume to predict the direction of a security or index.

So far this year, the average number of S&P 500 companies reaching new 52-week highs stands at 62, but it has been trending down in the past three weeks. Could the market be poised for another breather?

»Read more

About By the Numbers

  • Our market specialists dig deep into Wall Street’s daily metrics, crunching the numbers to help you become smarter about the market so that you can make better investment decisions. By The Numbers details the daily drama, the winners and losers, how the day stacks up historically, and how the numbers can offer a glimpse of the future.


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