Markets Higher, Closing News 3/23/12

Stocks rose, erasing earlier losses and closed out a volatile week positively, despite disappointing housing data.  The Commerce Department showed purchases of new homes unexpectedly fell in February, a sign the recovery in the housing market is still weak.  New home sales fell 1.6% to a 313,000 annual pace, the slowest since October, from a 318,000 rate in January. 

Crude oil surged almost $2 a barrel after reports indicated that Iranian oil exports would drop by 300,000 barrels a day this month because of tighter sanctions.  Crude oil closed at $107 a barrel.

BATS Global Markets (BATS) experienced its own flash crash on its debut of trading today on the BATS Exchange due to erroneous trades and technical errors, which overloaded the system.  The stock was halted for the rest of the day.  The company announced that it had priced 6.3 million shares at $16 a piece, the lower end of its estimated range.   Ultimately, the company officially withdrew its IPO after the computer malfunction affected trading.

President Barack Obama named Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College and a global health expert, as its nominee to lead the World Bank.  Kim is expected to be the top nominee to replace  current president, Robert Zoellick who will step down at the end of his five-year term in June.

Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed up 34.59 pts/+0.27% to 13,080.73

  • S&P closed up 4.33 pts/+0.31% to 1,397.11

  • Nasdaq closed up 4.60 pts/+0.15% to 3,067.92

  • 19 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

  • 8 of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up

  • Energy and Materials were the best performing sector

  • The VIX was down 0.67 to 14.90

  • Oil is up $1.51 to $106.88

  • Nat Gas is down $0.001 to $2.371

  • Gold is up $21.80 to $1,664.60

  • Euro vs. Dollar is up $0.007 to $1.3268

  • Dollar vs. Yen is down $0.2525 to $82.3735

Companies in the News:

Outgoing McDonald's (MCD) CEO Jim Skinner said he expects growth to continue, but the company faces some headwinds in commodities like other companies in the industry.  McDonald’s closed at  $95.55, down $0.25.

Bank of America (BAC) announced it is starting a pilot program this week to allow mortgage borrowers facing foreclosure to stay in their homes as renters while transferring title back to the lender.  BofA closed at $9.85, up $0.25.

T-Mobile USA Inc., said it will eliminate 1,900 jobs as it reduces the number of call centers to 17 from 24.  The company also said it will invite employees to transfer to some of the 17 other offices.

Pengrowth Energy Corporation (PGH) announced it is acquiring NAL Energy Corporation for about C$1.3 billion ($1.3 billion) or 0.86 of a share of Pengrowth Energy.  Pengrowth closed at $9.76, down $0.15.


KB Home (KBH) fell 9%, after the company reported a loss of $0.59 per share, more than double analysts' expectations. The company also missed on revenues recording $254 million.  KB Homes closed at $10.29, down $0.95. 

Darden Restaurants (DRI) reports Q3 continued ops EPS $1.25, vs. Est $1.24 and Q3 revenue $2.16B, vs. Est $2.14B.  The company sees FY12 SSS up 2.5%-3.0%.  Darden also confirms FY12 EPS view up 4%-7%, consensus $3.60. Darden closed at $50.92, down $0.91.

Micron Technologies Inc., (MU) reports Q2 EPS (23c), vs. Est (19c) and revenue $2.1B , vs. Est $2.02B.  The company said lower sales of NOR products impacted Q2 results as the environment for pricing remains weak.  Micron closed at $8.40, down $0.31.

Coming Monday:

Economic Reports:   Pending Home Sales Index at 10:00 a.m.



Paras Madho

NYSE Euronext

Market Watch & Corporate Actions

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