U.S. stocks opened with a strong move to the upside in early dealings, recovering from yesterday's massive sell-off, exacerbated in late trading by news of the Boston Marathon terror attack. It was the biggest one day drop of 2013. More good news on the domestic housing front and tame consumer inflation data, along with solid corporate earnings reports before the bell, have supported the move higher today.
March housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.04 million, the highest rate since June 2008. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected construction starts in March to rise to a rate of 933,000.
In another good piece of domestic economic data, the consumer price index decreased 0.2% in March, led by lower energy and apparel costs, according to the Labor Department. Analysts had forecast a decrease of 0.1%. The decline was led by energy costs, which retreated 2.6% in March, after rising 5.4% in February.
On the earnings front, Goldman Sachs ( GS ), Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) and Coca-Cola ( KO ) all reported better-than-expected profits pre-bell, with Coca-Cola establishing a new 52-week top of $42.32 in the process.
Overseas, European stocks were trading in negative terrain after Germany's ZEW economic sentiment indicator fell to a lower-than-expected 36.3 level in April from 46.5 a month earlier. The index was forecast to fall to 43.0, according to Marketwatch.com. Meanwhile, Asian markets ended mixed.
Commodities were mixed at mid-day, with crude oil continuing its descent, slipping $0.85 to trade at $87.84 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.043 to $4.114 per million BTUs.
Gold futures were up $27.40 per ounce to $1,388.50 after yesterday's massive bloodbath in the precious metals sector, and silver was up $0.309 to $23.667per ounce. Copper was down $0.013 to $3.286.
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite up 99.62 (+1.11%) to 9,053.57
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 132.96 (+0.91%) to 14,732.16
S&P 500 up 17.02 (+1.10%) to 1,569.39
Nasdaq Composite Index up 40.60 (+1.26%) to 3,257.09
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.41%
Hang Seng Index down 0.46%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.60%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.58%
DAX down -0.51%
CAC 40 down O.47%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES:
NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) up 68.84 (+0.55%) at 12,625.67
NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) up 63.62 (+1.17%) to 5,511.11
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) up 47.52 (+0.54%) to 9,113.72
(+) ECTY (+42%, has hit new 52 week highs) Shares surge after the company reports a Q4 top and bottom line earnings beat and Vista Partners initiates coverage with a price target of $3.70, citing expected increases in plug-in electric vehicles, about 360,000 by 2017.
(+) TTM (+6.2%) India auto maker shares rise, recovering from Monday's sell-off when the company reported that Tata's share of the passenger vehicle market slid 11.8%.
(+) PRGX (+2.1%) Resource company's shares surge in heavy morning trading after the company says it has completed restructuring its long-term debt with the Karlsson Group, advancing its long-term plan to build a potash mine in the Holbrook Basin of Arizona.
(-) SRPT (-12.5%) Shares slide after the FDA has requested additional information for the accelerated approval of eteplirsen for treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
(-) KEYN (-14.2%, hit new 52 week lows) Stock takes hit after the company reported preliminary Q2 results of between $28.5 million and $29.5 million, compared to the company's prior guidance of $30.0 million to $32.0 million. Analysts anticipated $31.1 million for Q2. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share is expected to be between $0.07 and $0.09 for Q2, compared to the company's prior guidance of $0.15 to $0.23, and short of the $0.19 the Street is expecting.
(-) LDK (-4.5%) Solar energy company shares dim after announcement that it cannot make full payments to the holders of its 4.75% convertible senior notes due 2013 in an aggregate principal amount of $23.8 million, plus interest, otherwise due and payable on their maturity date of April 15, 2013.
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