Closing Update: Stocks Hold Slim Gains in Calm Before the Earnings Storm

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Stocks chugged along in a razor-thin range Monday but squeezed out slim gains as a cautious equity market prepares for a very active week of Q1 earnings. Early results were mostly positive with results from Haliburton ( HAL ) and SunTrust ( STI ) beating estimates. Drug stocks were buoyed by rumors of a Pfizer ( PFE ) and Astra-Zeneca ( AZN ) merger, while the semiconductor sector got a bump from positive earnings from Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD ).

Today's second-tier economic data was all but ignored by the financial markets. The Chicago Fed found that economic conditions improved in March as their national index rose to 0.20 last month from 0.14 the month prior, meeting street consensus.

Leading economic indicators rose 0.8% in March versus the consensus estimate of +0.7%.

European markets were all closed today for the Easter holiday.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 40 points (0.25%) at 16,449

S&P 500 was up 7 points (0.37%) at 1,871

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 26 points (0.64%) at 4,121

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was Closed

Nikkei 225 was down 0.03%

Hang Seng Index Closed

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 1.52%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CBEY (+38.56%) Agreed to be bought by Birch Communications for $323 million in cash.

(+) SRPT (+39.26%) Plans to submit a New Drug Application to the U.S. FDA for the approval of eteplirsen as a treatment Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

(+) WB (+11.71%) Long-term growth story highlight by Fortune Magazine

(+) ASTM (+24.43%)Agreed to buy Sanofi's (SNY) Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CTRM) business for $6.5 million.

(+) AMD (+11.65%) Returned to profit in Q1 following year-ago net loss, topping analysts' expectations.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SPEX (-6.81%) Filed a $30 million mixed security shelf, including 1.78 million common shares.

(-) SMT, SMA.TO (-8.28%) Founding directors resign

(-) MGI (-13.47%)Downgraded to market perform from market outperform at JPM Securities, removed the $25 price target.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: HAL , STI , PFE , AZN , AMD

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As of 8/29/2014, 04:04 PM

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