Friday brought a solid advance for the stock market, as investors went into the last day of the week on a positive note. Despite ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, bargain-hunters seemed to carry the day, sending major market benchmarks higher. Just before 11:30 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 215 points to 27,750. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained 18 points to 3,357, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) picked up 34 points to 10,954.
Earnings continued to be newsmakers for individual stocks. Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) gained ground after its latest results confirmed the upbeat view that many tech companies have seen lately. Kroger (NYSE:KR) also saw continued sales gains, but investors weren't quite as optimistic about the stock's prospects for future advances.
Oracle weighs in
Shares of Oracle climbed 2% after having been substantially higher earlier in the morning session. The software applications provider enjoyed solid results in the first quarter of its 2021 fiscal year.
Oracle's overall sales were up only slightly, rising 2% year over year. Revenue from cloud license and on-premise license sources rose a more respectable 9%, outpacing the 2% rise in cloud services and license support sales.
However, Oracle saw more success on the bottom line. Earnings per share rose 15% on an adjusted basis, outpacing most investors' expectations. Moreover, the company was excited about its 33% rise in revenue from its Fusion enterprise resource planning suite. Combining Fusion and NetSuite customers, Oracle now has more than 30,000 clients in its cloud.
A lack of confidence in macroeconomic conditions has made some Oracle shareholders less certain about the near-term future for the software giant. However, the quarterly report restored some of that lost faith. It'll be interesting to see if Oracle can build on its upward momentum.
Kroger satisfies customers' hunger
Elsewhere, shares of Kroger were little changed Friday morning. The lack of positive movement came as somewhat of a shock after a strong second-quarter report from the grocery store chain.
Kroger's results were extremely good. Total revenue climbed 8% on a 14.6% rise in identical-store sales for the second quarter. Excluding fuel, which saw prices sink considerably from year-earlier levels, overall sales were up nearly 14%. Earnings nearly tripled year over year, and even after accounting for one-time items, adjusted earnings of $0.73 per share were higher by 66% and quite a bit better than most had expected.
Two things really stood out in Kroger's numbers. Online sales climbed 127%, reflecting the switch among many consumers to use delivery or outside pickup services rather than visiting stores in the middle of the pandemic. Also, Kroger updated its full-year guidance, and although uncertainty made its ranges wide, the grocery chain sees strong demand continuing well into 2021.
Kroger's stock has done well in 2020, showing the value of defensive consumer products companies. For further gains, though, Kroger will have to demonstrate that it can keep growing even if COVID-related trends start to lose their positive impact on the grocery store operator's results.