SOURCE: Five Star Equities

Five Star Equities

February 18, 2013 08:20 ET

Strong Earnings Season Drives S&P 500 Index to Five Year High

Five Star Equities Provides Stock Research on General Electric and 3M

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 18, 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 General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) and 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM).

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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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General Electric recently reported that they have agreed to sell their remaining stake in NBCUniversal and related assets to Comcast for $18.1 billion. The company currently offers investors an annual dividend of $0.76 per share for a dividend yield of approximately 3.25 percent. Shares of General Electric have gained over 10 percent year-to-date.

For the full year 2012, 3M reported record sales of $29.9 billion, an increase of 1 percent when compared to the year ago quarter. The company currently offers investors an annual dividend of $2.54 for a dividend yield of approximately 2.5 percent. Shares of 3M have gained over 18 percent year-to-date.

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