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Stocks - S&P Ends Higher as Earnings Inspire Rebound

Investing.com – Stocks rebounded from session lows to end higher Thursday as gains in industrials helped offset weakness in energy stocks.

The S&P 500 rose 0.16%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.42%, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.02%. Market volumes were thin heading into the holiday weekend.

Industrials racked up gains as United Rentals (NYSE:URI) and Honeywell (NYSE:HON) rallied after delivering better-than-expected earnings.

United Rentals surged 8.20% and Honeywell rose 3.8% as both companies beat on the top and bottom lines.

But investors had to contend with weaker-than-expected earnings from Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC) and Skechers USA (NYSE:SKX). Both ended the day sharply lower.

Falling energy stocks also kept gains in the broader market in check, despite oil prices settling higher following data showing Saudi Arabia cut crude exports in February.

In consumer discretionaries, tobacco stocks came under pressure on reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will propose legislation to raise the legal tobacco age in the U.S. to 21 from 18.

Altria (NYSE:MO), Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) and British American Tobacco (NYSE:BTI) ended the day lower.

Health care stocks pared losses to end just above the flatline, finally showing resilience after steep losses on concerns that government reforms could destabilize the sector.

UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) CEO David Wichmann told analysts in a conference call earlier this week that proposals by Democrats like Medicare for All would "destabilize the nation’s health system and limit the ability of clinicians to practice medicine at their best." UnitedHealth gained 2.3% on the day after two days of losses. It finished the week down 0.7%.

In tech, Snap (NYSE:SNAP) fell 0.7% after Wedbush Securities downgraded its rating on the stock to neutral from outperform.

“With shares currently trading around 8x the consensus 2020 revenue estimate, current valuation appears to leave little room for multiple expansion, as greater investor confidence in current management and the potential for earlier-than-expected profitability appear to be largely priced in,” Wedbush said.

In other company news, Pinterest (NYSE:PINS) and Zoom Technologies (OTC:ZOOM) rallied after making their stock market debuts, adding billions to their market caps.

On the economic front, better-than-expected retail sales, pointing to underlining strength in the consumer also boosted sentiment on stocks.

"A bounce in consumption is consistent with the pendulum of economic sentiment swinging back from the extreme negatives seen last month," BMO said.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

United Rentals (NYSE:URI), Snap-On Inc (NYSE:SNA) and Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

Genuine Parts (NYSE:GPC), Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) and Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

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