US Stock Indexes Inch Back From Record Highs

Asian markets fared better. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.3 percent, as did South Korea’s Kospi index. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4 percent.

TAKING STOCK: Markets around the world have been tearing higher in recent weeks, and the S&P 500 index closed at another all-time high Friday following excitement about the upcoming French election and strong earnings in the U.S.

“Corporate earnings have been phenomenal, the best quarter in five years,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. “The earnings recession that was about seven or eight quarter long is definitively behind us. It’s over.”

More than 80 percent of companies in the S&P 500 have reported their results for the first three months of the year, and most have topped analysts’ expectations. With the U.S. job market continuing to improve, along with economies around the world, Orlando says he expects profits to keep rising through the year.

That has him, unlike market critics, not worried that stocks have grown too expensive relative to their profits, and he expects Monday’s step back to be temporary.

“We’ve had a pretty strong bounce the last month or so,” he said. “We ought to drift sideways and consolidate until we get another clue” on the market’s next move.

BRANDED: Newell Brands had the largest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger revenue and profit for its latest quarter than analysts expected. The company, whose brands include Paper Mate, Elmer’s and Calphalon, also raised its earnings forecast for the year.

Shares jumped $5.37, or 11.6 percent, to $51.76.

SLUMPING: Tyson Foods dropped $3.84, or 6.1 percent, to $59.49 after reporting weaker revenue and earnings for its latest quarter than analysts expected. The company said fires at two of its chicken plants hurt results.

IN THE BAG: Kate Spade surged…

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