U.S. Markets closed

Stocks a mixed bag as a busy earnings week begins

Hot Stock Minute

The major stock indices ended the day mixed amid better-than-expected quarterly results from bellwether stocks including Delta Air Lines (DAL), Travelers (TRV), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Verizon (VZ). The Dow Industrials (^DJI) were down about 50 points. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) closed up 28 points and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up five points.

The International Monetary Fund raised its 2014 global economic growth forecast to 3.7%, up 0.1% from its last outlook in October. The United States is leading the recovery. The IMF raised its forecast for U.S. growth this year to 2.8%, from 2.6% forecast in October.

China’s central bank injected liquidity into money markets after short-term borrowing costs spiked on demand for cash ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday. Stocks cheered the influx of funds. Stock markets in Asia closed higher across the board.

Meanwhile, the U.S. central bank appears to be on course for another reduction in its bond-buying program when the Fed holds its next meeting next week. The January 28-29th meeting will be Chairman Ben Bernanke’s last. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the lackluster December jobs report failed to diminish the Fed’s outlook for economic growth this year.

Ahead of the next Fed meeting, investors will be focused on a busy earnings season. More big names are expected to report this week, including Microsoft (MSFT), eBay (EBAY) and Starbucks (SBUX) among others. In all, some 70 S&P 500 companies will report fourth-quarter results this week.