The major averages eased off session highs in afternoon trading Friday, with tech stocks outperforming after a strong earnings report from semiconductor bellwether Applied Materials (AMAT).
The Nasdaq rose 1.1%, the S&P 500 climbed 0.5%, and the Dow industrials added 0.4% in the stock market today. Volume was mixed, down from the same time Thursday on the NYSE but higher on the Nasdaq.
Applied Materials soared 12% in huge volume after the maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment reported a better-than-expected 17% gain in profit for the latest quarter. It also issued better-than-expected guidance for the current quarter on strong demand for chips used in smartphones and other devices.
Meanwhile, Chinese gaming stock NetEase (NTES) continued to climb, following a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report last week. The stock was up nearly 4% in afternoon trading as it climbs the right side of a cup-type base with a possible buy point at 186.55.
On the downside, Campbell Soup (CPB) plunged nearly 7% in heavy trade. Campbell reported that fiscal-third-quarter earnings were 65 cents a share, a penny above estimates. But sales were $1.87 billion, short of $1.91 billion estimates. Earnings and sales each fell 2% from a year earlier.
Forty of the IBD 50 stocks were higher, led by Universal Display (OLED), which rose more than 5% and popped back above its 50-day moving average and a 53.05 cup-with-handle buy point. Universal Display makes organic light emitting diode flat-panel displays used in consumer electronics, like smartphones and televisions.
In economic news, April existing-home sales rose 1.7% at a 5.45 million annualized pace, beating estimates of 5.4 million. March sales were revised upward to 5.36 million from 5.33 million.