SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

February 19, 2013 08:20 ET

Earnings Help Fuel S&P 500 Index Rally -- S&P 500 Index Tops 1500 Mark for the First Time in 5 Years

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 19, 2013) - The S&P 500 Index has continued its surge throughout this earnings and has topped the 1500 mark for the first time in five years. The S&P Index has posted a gain of nearly 7 percent year-to-date. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE).

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Signs of an improving U.S. economy combined with a relatively strong earnings season has helped fuelled the S&P Index's rally in the early parts of 2013. Of the 354 companies in the S&P 500 Index that have reported earnings this year approximately 74 percent have exceeded profit projections, according to data from Bloomberg.

"The early months of any year are often seasonally strong for the stock market, and this year was no exception," said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors, which oversees $380 billion. "The important question is, were those gains earned? Based on the earnings results that we've gotten so far, it seems as though they were."

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Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb have gained over 12 percent year-to-date. The company reported net earnings of $925 million, or $0.56 per share, in the fourth quarter compared to $852 million, or $0.50 per share, in the year ago quarter. Bristol-Myers Squibb currently offers investors an annual dividend of $1.40 per share, for a dividend yield of approximately 3.8 percent.

Shares of Pfizer have gained 8.8 percent year to date. The company's sales of its nutrition business to Nestle drove its net income to $6.32 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to a net income of $1.44 billion a year ago. Pfizer currently offers investors an annual dividend of $0.96 per share, for a dividend yield of approximately 3.5 percent.

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