Closing Update: Late Surge Snaps Three-Day Stock Losing Streak
A surprise rise in a measure of consumer sentiment helped erase a mid-day lull for most stocks, igniting a moderate rally that carried the U.S. markets to its first winning day in three sessions. Equities also found support from a pair of new studies showing home prices continue to appreciate nationwide.
Tech stocks helped lead shares higher this afternoon while healthcare stocks snapped a four-day skid. Shares of consumer discretionary companies were the lone sector in the S&P 500 to end the day in the red.
Stocks got an early boost after the Conference Board said consumer confidence improved significantly in March, jumping to a six-year high of 82.3 from an upwardly revised 78.3 reading in February. Individual components of the were mixed, however, with expectations rising but opinion about the present situation declining slightly to a 80.4 score from 81.0 during the prior month.
Home prices continued to appreciate during January, according to the monthly Case-Schiller index of 20 U.S. cities although a separate survey by the Commerce Department found new-home sales declined 3.3% in February to an annualized pace of 440,000 units, a five-month low..
Crude oil for May delivery fell 41 cents to settle at $99.70 per barrel while April natural gas rose 14 cents to $4.41 per 1 million BTU. AprIL gold fell 20 cents to finish at $1,311.20 per ounce while May silver slipped 9 cent to $19.98 per ounce. May copper rose 6 cents to $3.01 per pound.
Here's where the markets stood at the end of the session:
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 91 points (+0.6%) at 16,367
S&P 500 up 8 points (+0.4%) at 1,865
Nasdaq Composite Index up 7 points (+0.2%) at 4,234
Hang Seng Index down 0.52%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.05%
FTSE 100 Index up 1.23%
(+) GALT, Schedules April 1 webcast to discuss results from Phase I clinical trial of its drug candidate to treat fibrosis and other liver ailments.
(+) SONC, Q2 EPS of $0.07 top analyst estimates by $0.01 per share. Revenue falls 1.3% year over year to $109.7 mln, roughly in-line with the $110.36 mln consensus. Same-store sales rise 1.4%, including 1.5% growth at franchise drive-ins.
(+) BGMD, Hits new 52-week high Tuesday after saying its BGM Galectin-3 test during three clinical trials correctly identified elevated levels of a protein marker in the bloodsteam for severe cardiac events.
(-) GIII, Slides after the clothier reported Q4 revenue lagging the consensus view. Also issues weak outlook for EPS and revenue in Q1 and FY15.
(-) CCL, Warns it may post a net loss during the current quarter because of rising costs. Also reports Qx loss of $0.02 per share, reversing year-ago net loss, but topping estimates by $0.06. Revenue was little changed and in-line at $3.58 bln.
(-) AI, Sold 2.75 million shares at $27.40 each - a 3.5% discount to the stock's closing price Monday.