Here are the names and numbers to keep an eye on as we roll in to the last full week of April:
Four: That's the number of days in a row both the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) have managed to post gains. After sputtering along to start last week, some decent earnings and old-fashioned seller's fatigue led to a nearly 3% gain for the S&P 500. It was the strongest weekly performance since last July, and it pushed the senior market index back into the green for 2014.
63%: That's the number of S&P 500 companies that have reported better than expected earnings about one-fifth of the way into the season. Unfortunately only half of those companies have managed to top revenue expectations. It was encouraging to see good merger and acquisition activity reports from the banks, but far too many companies are relying on buybacks and cost-cutting to hit their numbers. This week will give us a good look at business and consumers as we hear from companies like Simon Property Group (SGP), Delta Airlines (DAL), and the suddenly resurgent Microsoft (MSFT).
Two: That's the number of IPOs scheduled for this week according to Edgar. Investors could use the break after nearly 20 initial offerings in the last 2 weeks. Given the muted performance of these new issues it's a stretch to call this a mania as far as the public is concerned, but insiders in just about every industry have been force-feeding shares into the market hand over fist. It's not just IPOs either. Barnes & Noble (BKS) Chairman Len Riggio sold 3.7 million shares of Barnes and Noble stock just months after a similar fire sale in December. Earlier this month John Malone's Liberty Media (LMCA) announced the sale of 90% of it's Barnes & Noble stake. As an investing rule of thumb, when the insiders are selling the outsiders should hold on to their wallets.
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