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IBM's Earnings Hurt the Dow, but the S&P Rallies

Michael Comeau

Following a 3% drop to start the week, the S&P 500 (^INX) rallied on earnings-driven surges in tech heavyweights Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG).

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However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) fell due to the sharp drop in index-heavyweight IBM (IBM), which delivered a weaker-than-expected earnings report after the close Thursday. McDonald's (MCD), which had disappointing revenues and a lackluster forward outlook, was also a contributor to the Dow's weakness

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There were no economic data releases today.

We saw some indications that the risk-off character seen in the market earlier in the week has abated. For example, the VIX (VXX) fell, while small-cap stocks were fairly strong and bond yields rose.

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Nonetheless, market participants continue to wrangle with the possibility of the first real pullback in 2013 following a stretch of disappointing economic data and an earnings season that can be described as so-so at best.

The theme we've seen this earnings season -- and this would include the aforementioned Microsoft and Google -- has been that companies are meeting or beating expectations on earnings but underperforming on the revenue side. This is fueling concerns that earnings growth is coming from expense cuts and layoffs rather than legitimate economic growth and strong end-market demand.

Otherwise, on Friday, market-related news took a backseat to more important matters -- namely the crisis in Boston.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Earnings season will continue on Monday. Notable names reporting include Halliburton (HAL) and Caterpillar (CAT) before the open, and Netflix (NFLX) and Texas Instruments (TXN) after the close.

In economics, we'll see existing home sales numbers for the month of March released at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Given the recent slide in housing stocks, this could be a market-moving report since a disappointment would confirm that there has been a deterioration in fundamentals.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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