The stocks of U.S. companies gained today propelled by better-than-expected earnings results of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C). Last week, the stock markets in the United States suffered significant losses as investors continued selling their stockholdings in the biggest gainers in the bull market in order to lock in their profits.

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Today, the Down Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 0.91%, the S&P 500 gained 0.82% while the Nasdaq climbed 0.57%.

In a phone interview with Bloomberg, James W. Gaul, a portfolio manager at Boston Advisors LLC commented, “Today’s rally started with Citigroup having better-than-expected earnings and slightly better-than-expected retail sales.”

Gaul added that investors are currently cautious of making large investments in the market. He said, “As the day goes on, that’s not been enough to change the overall mood of the market, which is sour on the large growers. Investors are hesitant to put a lot of new money in the market right now.”

Data from the Department of Commerce reveals that the sales of companies in the retail and food services industry increased in March by 1.1% to $433.9 billion, up by 0.5% in the previous month or 0.7% in the same month in 2013. According to the agency, the total sales of the retail and food services industry over the past three months climbed 2.5%.

Economists at Morgan Stanley estimated the economy grew 1.2% on annualized rate in the first quarter based on the retail sales data. The economists projected that the economy will grow 3.5% in the next quarter.

“When you have a market down so much over the past few weeks, people are getting a little bit worried. Any time you get incrementally better U.S. data and decent earnings, you have a backdrop to go higher,” said Brent Schutte, a senior investment strategist at BMO Global Asset Management.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,173.24 (+0.91%)
  • S&P 500- 1,830.61 (+0.82 %)
  • NASDAQ- 4,022.69 (+0.57%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,114.57 (+0.57%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,131.57 (+0.48%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,583.76 (+0.34%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,339.17 (+0.26%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 13,910.16 (-0.36%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,038.80 (+0.15%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,268.61 (-0.09%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) climbed 4.36% to $47.67 per share after the bank reported first quarter earnings that beat the estimates of Wall Street analysts. The bank posted $3.9 billion profit of $1.23 earnings per share on $20.1 billion revenue. Analysts expected the company to deliver $1.14 earnings per share.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp (NYSE:EW) gained 11% to $81 per share after a federal court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the sales of a replacement heart valve from its competitor, Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) in a patent lawsuit. The shares of Metronic dropped 1.89% to $58.08 per share.

The shares of Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) rose 3.64% to $71.18% after David Koning, an analyst at Robert W. Baird upgraded his rating from Neutral to Outperform citing that the concerns regarding the stock are a bit exaggerated as credit card data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) showed that volumes were largely steady in the first quarter compared with volumes in the fourth quarter last year.