NEW YORK: The Nasdaq composite index shot 2 percent higher Wednesday, powered by a surge in Apple. The iPhone maker’s stock climbed $50 after the company once again blew past Wall Street’s profit forecasts.
With Apple’s help, the technology-focused Nasdaq posted its best day this year.
Apple, the biggest component of the index by far, climbed 8.9 percent after reporting that its earnings doubled in the first three months of the year. The company sold 35 million iPhones, twice as many as in the same quarter a year ago.
The surge made back about half of what Apple’s stock lost in the two weeks before its earnings announcement late Tuesday. One reason for the slump was an analyst’s suggestion that Apple could not keep up the momentum in iPhone sales.
Stock in Apple, the most valuable public company in the world, hit $644 in intraday trading on April 10 and slid as low as $555 on Tuesday.
Apple jumped nearly $50 to $610 on Wednesday. The gain helped power the Nasdaq up 68.03 points to 3,029.63. Apple makes up 12 percent of the Nasdaq.
The Nasdaq rose more than other market indexes thanks to its heavy weighting of Apple shares. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index includes Apple; the Dow Jones industrial average doesn’t.
The Dow gained 89.16 points to close at 13,090.72, a 0.7 percent increase. The S&P 500 index rose 18.72 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,390.69. Apple accounts for 4 percent of the S&P 500.
The tech giant joined a growing list of companies that have reported surprisingly strong first-quarter earnings. Through last week, eight out of 10 companies that reported earnings had beat estimates, including Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola. Even so, the S&P 500 index is still down 1 percent for the month.
“Sure, earnings are a lot better than expected, but this looks like a quarter where the market doesn’t react to that,” said Brian Gendreau, market strategist at Cetera Financial. “I don’t think that the positive earnings season we’ve had is enough to shake this market out of its trading range.”
Technology stocks in the S&P 500 gained 3 percent as a group, the best-performing industry in the market. Material and consumer-discretionary companies also had a strong day.
For Europe, Apple may not be an economic bellwether, but analysts said it’s a valuable gauge of confidence.