U.S. Indexes Pull Off Record Levels; ISM Number Disappoints

After futures had pointed to a fractional gain for the big three U.S. stock indexes, a modest wave of selling has taken hold, with market participants returning from the Easter holiday in a cautious mood. Both the Dow and S&P 500 were sitting near record highs to start the week, but disappointing domestic manufacturing data has stymied a further move higher.

Manufacturing numbers came in below expectations after the opening bell. The Institute for Supply Management released its monthly manufacturing index, which weighed in at 51.3 vs. last month's 54.2 figure. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast the ISM to be unchanged from February at 54.2%. Analysts speculated that the decline was in part due to the impact of automatic "sequestration" budget cuts that went into effect earlier this year.

Construction spending for the month measured 1.2%, slightly better than the Commerce Department's forecast for a 1% rise in construction spending in February. Construction spending had fallen 2.1% in January. The small rise wasn't significant enough to help stem the tide of modest selling.

Overseas, data released from China today showed manufacturing activity is accelerating, but the government announcement of new measures to cool the property market sent Asian markets lower. European markets were closed for the extended holiday.

Overall, commodity prices were mostly lower at midday, with oil down $1.12, at $96.11 a barrel. Natural gas continued to hold just above the $4 mark, down $0.02 to $4.004 per million BTUs.

Gold futures were the lone gainer across the major commodities complex, adding $1.80 to $1597.50 per ounce, while silver was down $0.463, to $27.86 per ounce. Copper was down $0.0335 to $3.3685.

Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:

NYSE Composite down 53.65 (-0.59%) to 9,053.39

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 24.42 (-0.17%) to 14,554.12

S&P 500 down 7.29 (-0.47%) to 1,561.90

Nasdaq Composite Index down 22.53 (-0.69%) to 3,244.99


Nikkei 225 Index down 2.12%

Hang Seng Index down 0.12%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.12%

FTSE 100 Index closed.

DAX closed.

CAC 40 closed.


NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) down 47.84 (-0.36%) at 13,172.51

NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 41.67 (-0.76%) to 5,446.00

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 14.87 (-0.17%) to 8,873.35


(+) CALI (+6.2%, but off day highs) Shares race higher, but have pared gains of up to 18%, after the company reported non-GAAP 2012 adjusted net income per share of $1.76, down from $2.60 a year ago. Sales were $591,315,104, up from $452,149,602 a year earlier.

(+) MHGC (+6.4% to near year highs) Stock rises, near the high range of its 52-week top of $6.76, after the company announced a $100 million rights offering to its stockholders and other equity holders at a subscription price of $6.00 per share of common stock.

(+) SCTY (+1.1%) Shares shine slightly brighter after the solar energy company announced that it has been added to the Russell 2000, Russell 3000, and Russell Global Indexes, following Russell Investments' first quarter IPO additions to its comprehensive set of global equity indexes.


(-) DLLR (-19.8%) Shares establish new 52-week low of $13.12 after the company issued its Q3 guidance, expecting EPS of $0.20 - $0.24, vs. the Capital IQ consensus estimate of $0.66. For FY13, the company anticipates EPS of $1.70 - $1.80, down from the prior guidance of $2.35 - $2.45. Analysts are looking for EPS of $2.41.

(-) PC (-9.6%) Stock slips after the Wall Street Journal reported U.S. authorities are investigating whether a unit of the Japanese electronics giant paid bribes abroad to land business.

(-) SIMO (-4.7%) Issue touches new 52-week low of $11.22 after company said that it expects Q1 FY13 to be near the midpoint of its guidance range of down 15% to 25% versus the revenue for the prior quarter, which was $70.61 mln. This calculates to about $52.96 mln - $60 mln guidance range. Analysts polled by Capital IQ expect revenues to be $56.66 mln.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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