US stocks halt five-day drop after Alcoa’s unexpected earnings
U.S. stocks advanced, halting a five-day decline for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, after Alcoa Inc. reported an unexpected first-quarter profit. Almost $800 billion was erased from U.S. equity values in the five days leading up to the first-quarter earnings season. The S&P 500 yesterday capped the longest drop since November on concern about Europe’s debt crisis and the U.S. jobs market. The decline drove the gauge to about 14 times reported earnings yesterday, below the average since 1954 of 16.4.