Stocks are holding onto constructive gains, with upbeat
production data and better-than-expected earnings from Yahoo (
) helping to consolidate yesterday's late rebound by equities.
Despite pockets of profit-taking, especially among semiconductor
stocks, today's gains were lifting the Nasdaq Composite index
comfortably over the 4,000 mark while the S&P 500 had moved
above its 1,850 support levels.
Industrial production improved 0.7% last month, beating
estimates for a 0.4% increase. In addition, the upward revision to
February production was twice the original print of 0.6%,
underscoring the economy's resurgence from severe winter weather.
Meanwhile, capacity utilization hit a five and a half-year high of
79.2, topping estimates of 78.7.
The housing data wasn't as market-friendly, but did not throw
much of a wrench into today's trading. Housing starts rose only
2.8% in March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 946,000,
missing estimates of 965,000. February, however, was revised upward
from 907,000 to 920,000. Permits declined 2.3% to 990,000 from a
downwardly revised 1.014 mln the month prior.
European equities closed near their six year highs as better
than expected Chinese GDP, cooling tensions in Ukraine, an
unexpected drop in the UK jobless rate, and a strong close in the
U.S. on Tuesday all fuel today's impressive gains. Germany's DAX
outperformed its other European counterparts thanks to a strong
German bund auction, shrugging off bearish EU-zone inflation
Crude oil was down $0.08 to $103.69 per barrel. Natural gas was
down $0.02 to $4.60 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.10 to
$1,300.40 an ounce, while silver was up $0.12 to $19.61 an ounce.
Copper was up $0.05 to $3.03 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.16% to
$37.33 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.63% to
$25.28. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was up 1.02% to 23.79 while SPDR Gold Shares was down
0.17% to $125.28. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.21% to
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 81.66 (+0.79%) to 10,483.64
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 117.33 (+0.72%) to 16,379.89
S&P 500 up 13.15 (+0.71%) to 1,856.13
Nasdaq Composite Index up 36.82 (+0.91%) to 4,070.98
Nikkei 225 Index up 3.01%
Hang Seng Index up 0.11%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.17%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.65%
CAC 40 up 1.39%
DAX up 1.57%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.86%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.70%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.27%
(+) APRI (+16.92%) The company said it made its first shipment
of its Vitaros erectile dysfunction treatment to the U.K.
(+) ZLCS (+36.88%) Plans to merge with Epirus
(+) AMCO (+26.23%) Agreed to acquire Draco Resources via a stock
exchange valued at approximately $46 million.
(-) XGTI (-13.36%) Prices 5.27-million shares at a discounted
(-) CRDC (-5.32%) Prices 32.6 million shares at a discounted 85
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