After starting the day in record territory, the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC ) has ended up down by 8 points today to close with a 0.4% loss today. Investors took stock of rising bond yields and decided to take a breather from the stock market's record-breaking rally. Uninspiring earnings from a number of companies also contributed to the slump. However, a few S&P components finished the day with notable gains, mostly on the back of trend-bucking earnings strength.
Rebounding game publisher Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA ) surged by 6.6% today on positive earnings, making it the S&P's best-performing stock. These gains pushed EA stock well past a double for the prior year, and it now sits at multiyear highs just above those last reached in the fall of 2011 and not seen since the tail end of the 2008 crash. The company's shift to a digital sales model brought its revenue to $495 million for the quarter, with a $0.04 loss per share narrower than the $0.06 loss analysts had expected. Several analysts boosted their price targets after the earnings report, but with the company now at multiyear highs, it's got to prove it can be consistently profitable before it again pushes past its pre-financial-crisis levels -- which were more than double present prices.
EMC (NYSE: EMC ) also popped on positive earnings. Its revenue rose 5.7% to $5.6 billion, in line with estimates, and $0.42 in EPS (a 7.7% improvement) also matching analyst estimates. EMC's 5.7% gain for the day was also boosted in large part part when VMWare (NYSE: VMW ) , majority-owned by EMC, reported outstanding earnings of its own. The virtualization software company's 16.7% gain came after a double beat and an ebullient outlook for the third quarter. It's been a tricky environment for tech stocks lately, particularly storage stocks, so any little bit of good news is worth hanging onto.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) , the S&P's second-largest component by market cap, rounded out the index's tech-led gains with a 5.1% pop after reporting earnings yesterday. The iPhone maker's investors shrugged off underwhelming revenue guidance to focus on an outstanding beat in iPhone sales -- Apple shipped 31.2 million for the quarter against an expected range of 26 million to 27 million. Moving into the lower end of the smartphone field has helped keep Apple competitive, but hasn't managed to push Apple's curve-wrecking margins any higher. A $7.47 EPS result came in well ahead of the $7.31 analysts expected, even though it was far lower than the year-ago quarter's $9.32 EPS result.
Rumors of the launch of another device in the third quarter are also possible drivers of today's gains in Apple's stock, but it seems like we've been hearing about iWatch and iTV for iForever, if you know what iMean. Maybe we should just chalk this up to the iPhone sales beat.
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