Stocks were off their best levels of the day, running into
resistance after new housing data disappointed traders, but were
still holding onto significant gains in a relief rally triggered by
a peaceful vote on Crimean succession. After losing ground for four
consecutive days last week, a short-covering rally at Monday's open
drove the Dow Industrials Index up more than 200 points, with
better than expected manufacturing data amplifying the upward
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders improved in March but fell
short of Street expectations. The National Association of Home
Builders index notched up to 47.0 from 46.0 the month prior but
trailed forecasts for a more robust gain to a 50.0 reading - which
is index demarcation between a positive or a pessimistic outlook on
the housing market.
Stocks advanced at the open after industrial production overcame
the lingering impact of adverse winter weather for a 0.6%
improvement in March, the Federal Reserve reported, beating
estimates for a 0.2% gain. January was revised upward as well, from
a negative 0.3% reading to a 0.2% decline.
Capacity utilization this month was reported as better than
expected, inching higher to 78.8 from a 78.5 reading in February,
also beating the market consensus looking for 78.6. The
manufacturing component rose 0.8%, topping estimates for a 0.3%
gain and much better than the 0.8% contraction in January.
In the New York Federal Reserve District, business conditions
improved slightly in March, with the Empire State business
conditions index rising to 5.61 from 4.48 but below forecasts for a
rise to 7.0.
In Europe, stocks rallied on geo-political developments and
strength in U.S. markets while European inflation data raised odds
for another cut in EU-zone interest rates. All three major European
bourses are holding impressive gains with Germany's DAX
Crude oil was down $1.14 to $97.75 per barrel. Natural gas was
up $0.09 to $.49 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $1.30 to
$1,377.60 an ounce, while silver was down $0.02 to $21.39 an ounce.
Copper was unchanged at $2.95 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.21% to
$35.10 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 2.66% to
$25.11. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was down 1.13% to 27.34 while SPDR Gold Shares was down
0.35% to $132.64. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.53% to
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 93.20 (+0.91%) to 10,378.29
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 187.65 (+1.17%) to 16,253.32
S&P 500 up 18.74 (+1.02%) to 1859.84
Nasdaq Composite Index up 46.34 (+1.09%) to 4,291.73
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.35%
Hang Seng Index down 0.30%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.96%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.78%
CAC 40 up 1.31%
DAX up 1.38%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.42%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.87%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.99%
(+) HTZ (+5.08%) Plans to spin off equipment rental business
(+) YHOO (+4.00%) Alibaba begins process of IPO
(+) AMCN (+14.50%) Reverses losses from Friday on disappointing
(+) MNGA (+33.33%) Will unveil its liquid biomass technology
solution at the upcoming 7th Annual International Biomass
Conference & Expo.
(-) HNR (-6.45%) Reported a net loss of $122.7 million, or $3.02
per diluted share vs estimates for a gain of $0.10 per share
(-) ICPT (-11.95%) Reported mixed Q4 and full-year 2013
earnings, as well as releasing results for its Phase 3 POISE
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