Stocks are advancing as the latest government employment data
shows a slow--but steady--gain in new jobs and a decline in the
unemployment rate. While the payroll increase topped analyst
expectations, it fell short of the number of jobs added last month.
Construction spending fell to an 11-year low and a key
manufacturing index was essentially even for the month.
In employment, nonfarm payrolls increased by 230,000 jobs last
month, beating the 185,000 increase expected by economists surveyed
by MarketWatch. But the number fell just short of 240,000 jobs
added in February. The unemployment rate fell to a
seasonally-adjusted 8.8% in March from 8.9% in February, the lowest
rate since March 2009. Economists had been expecting the jobless
rate to inch up to 9.0%.
Meanwhile, the March ISM manufacturing index fell to 61.2 last
month from 61.4 in February. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had
forecast the index to dip to 61.3 last month from 61.4% in
Construction spending fell 1.4% to a seasonally-adjusted annual
rate of $760.6 billion in February, the lowest level in more than
11 years, the Commerce Department reported, adding a down note to
otherwise positive economic data this morning.
In company news:
Shares of NASDAQ OMX (
) are higher after NASDAQ and IntercontinentalExchange (
) made a joint proposal to acquire NYSE Euronext (
) for $42.50 in cash and stock per NYSE Euronext share. NYSE
Euronext confirmed today that it has received an unsolicited
proposal from Nasdaq to acquire all outstanding shares of NYSE
Euronext for a combination of $14.24 in cash, 0.4069 shares of
Nasdaq stock and 0.1436 shares of ICE stock per NYSE Euronext
share. The move trumps a previous offer from Germany's Deutsche
A lawsuit filed by a Pennsylvania pension fund accused officials
at Cephalon (
) of failing to act in the best interest of shareholders regarding
the $5.7 billion buyout offer by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (
), Bloomberg reports. Cephalon said yesterday that it will look at
the bid next week.
Shares of American Apparel (APP) are down after the Los
Angeles-based clothing company said the shortfall in its cash may
force it to sekk bankruptcy protection, Bloomberg reported. Two
American Apparel board members from lender Lion Capital resigned in
order to evaluate the investment, the report said, citing a
Lucas Energy (LEI) is up after it says it entered into a Joint
Venture agreement with Marathon Oil (East Texas) LP, a subsidiary
of Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) to develop the Eagle Ford and
Buda formations in Wilson County, Texas. The Marathon affiliate has
acquired 50% of the leasehold interest rights, representing
approximately 1,000 net acres (below the base of the Austin Chalk
formation) held by Lucas in a majority of Lucas' leases in Wilson
Office Depot (ODP) is down after the company announced that the
Internal Revenue Service has denied the company's claim to carry
back certain tax losses to prior tax years under economic
stimulus-based tax legislation enacted in 2009.
In earnings news:
--Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. (KKD) plummets 17.05% to $5.84, on
lower-than-expected 2010 Q4 results. In yesterday's after-hour
trade, the doughnut chain reported a Q1 loss per share of $0.02 on
sales of $91.7 million. The Street view is for EPS of $0.04 on
sales of $92.55 million.
--Xyratex Ltd. (XRTX) is down after its 2011 Q2 guidance came in
below Street estimates. The provider of data storage and network
technology expects to earn up to 6 cents a share in the second
quarter, lower than the Street estimate of 27 cents a share.
Commodities are mixed. June gold contracts are down $12, or
0.83%, to $1,428 an ounce while May crude oil contacts are up
0.94%, or $0.99, at $107.71 a barrel.
In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.06% to
$43.05 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is down $0.12,
or 1.04%, to $11.38.
In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is down 0.59%
to $139.03. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.45% to
$59.83. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 0.16% to $36.73.
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