The markets started off the week on a positive note as investors responded positively to strong earnings from the tail end of earnings season. The Dow 30 closed the day higher by 8, the S&P 500 added 4, and the Nasdaq closed higher by 14.

Sector News

Gold continued its uptrend with a strong gain on the day. The precious metal has been in a steady uptrend since November of last year, offering very little in the way of pullbacks. Technical traders will note the approaching resistance of the prior high from last spring.

Consumer Staples enjoyed another move higher thanks in part to the response to earnings from Walmart. The sector is now by over 7% this year alone as it continues to try and erase December's losses.

Stock News

Walmart (WMT  ) unofficially ended the 4th quarter earnings season with a beat on earnings and revenue. The company beat earnings expectations by about 8 cents as sales saw an increase of just over 4%. Analysts had expected about 3% sales growth. Walmart guided in line with expectations and raised their dividend by 1 cent to $0.53 per share. Shares enjoyed a strong day as prices headed back towards highs.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP  ) reported earnings that came in better than expected ($1.17 vs. $1.13) on revenue that was basically in line with expectations. Same-store sales saw a small downtick to 3.4% which was just below the 3.6% expected. The company essentially offered forward guidance that was in line with expectations.

Southwest Airlines (LUV  ) shares were lower on the day as the company is being looked at by the FAA. They are inquiring about the company and their miscalculation of checked baggage weights. The Wall Street Journal reported that in many cases jets were carrying more than 1,000 over the reported weight in the flight plan paperwork.