Stocks Extend Gains, But Gap Slumps On Sales – Investor’s Business Daily

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U.S. stocks extended their gains in early trading, fueled by earnings reports and higher oil prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average led with a 0.8% advance, the S&P 500 rose 0.7%, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.4%. Volume was tracking higher on the Nasdaq and lower on the NYSE in the stock market today.

The Dow was nearly green across the board, with Exxon Mobil (XOM) among the biggest gainers, up 1% as oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.6% to $43.71 a barrel.

In economic news, the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index climbed 1 point in April to 93.6, ending a three-month slide. The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for March came in at 5.757 million job openings, vs. the prior 5.445 million and the prior revised 5.608 million.

Oil, security and Internet content stocks led the upside, while solar, department-store retailers and biotechs lagged. (STMP) soared early but pared gains to 2% in fast trade as it rushed past its 200-day moving average. The online postage provider’s quarterly earnings topped views late Monday, and the company raised its full-year profit and sales guidance.

Gap (GPS) sank 12% to its lowest level in more than four years. The apparel retailer late Monday reported weaker-than-expected Q1 sales and guided for earnings below analyst forecasts. Topeka Capital Markets cut its rating to hold from buy and its price target to 22 from 40. Gap will report May 19 after the close.

SolarCity (SCTY) sank 25% after reporting a wider loss than expected and trimming its outlook for installations. Shares are trading near three-month lows.