By Dow Jones Business News, March 11, 2013, 12:21:00 PM EDT
By Matt Jarzemsky and Chris Dieterich
NEW YORK--Stocks continued their march higher to start the week, shrugging off weakness in European markets and
downbeat economic data in China.
After a flat opening, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16 points, or 0.1%, to 14413 in midday trading. The blue
chips are riding a six-session win streak and have closed each of the last four sessions at an all-time high.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index added one point, or 0.1%, to 1552, while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost two
points, or 0.1%, to 3241.
Financial and health-care stocks were the S&P 500's best performers, while telecommunications and technology shares
lagged. Boeing rose 1.5% as the Dow's best performer. UnitedHealth gained 1.1%. General Electric dropped 1.1%.
"It's been an incredible month and year so far. I think there's just a lot of money out there coming in that wasn't
there before. If someone is not invested to any great degree, stocks at these levels still provide good value," said
Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., which manages $1.8 billion in assets.
In Washington, the heads of the Senate and House budget committees will submit budget proposals this week that are
expected to show the vast differences between the tax and spending policies of Democrats and Republicans.
European markets traded broadly lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 losing 0.2%, in the wake of a downgrade of Italy and
disappointing data from China. After European markets closed on Friday, Fitch Ratings lowered Italy's credit rating by
one notch to triple-B-plus, three steps above junk territory. The ratings firm cited concerns over political uncertainty
at a time of economic weakness. On Monday, data showed Italy's gross domestic product contracted 0.9% in the fourth
quarter. Italy's FTSE MIB index slid 0.8%.
Asian markets were mixed, after data showing industrial production and retail sales in China for the January and
February period missed expectations. In addition, inflation in February rose 3.2% from January, the highest monthly
increase since April 2012, sparking worries of potential monetary tightening. China's Shanghai Composite lost 0.4%.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rallied 0.5% to a 4½-year high, extending its winning streak to seven
sessions, as exporters' shares got a boost from the yen's decline to a 3½-year low against the dollar.
Crude-oil futures slipped 0.7% to $91.30 a barrel, while gold futures added less than 0.1% to $1,579 a troy ounce. The
yield on 10-year Treasury bonds ticked higher to 2.059% as prices fell. The dollar inched lower against the euro.
In corporate news, shares of Dick's Sporting Goods fell 8.6% after the company reported quarterly results that fell
short of analysts' expectations and gave a downbeat earnings forecast for the year.
Dell rose 1% after agreeing to a "confidentiality agreement" with Icahn Enterprises, according to a statement from the
investment firm. The agreement follows Carl Icahn, chairman of the firm, writing to Dell's board that he opposed the PC
company's planned buyout by founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.
Best Buy edged up 0.3% after Piper Jaffray raised their investment rating on the electronics retailer to "overweight"
from "neutral," citing the belief that the company was in the early stages of a multiyear turnaround process.
Genworth added 6.7% was the biggest gainer among S&P 500 components after an article in Barron's said the mortgage
insurer's shares are undervalued.
The U.S.-listed shares of China's Simcere Pharmaceuticals jumped 15% after the company said it received a buyout
proposal from an investment group.
Canadian Solar fell 10% as the company reported a wider-than-anticipated fourth-quarter loss and revenue that fell
more than expected. It shipped fewer solar modules than expected.
--Write to Matt Jarzemsky at firstname.lastname@example.org and to Chris Dieterich at christopher.dieterich@
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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