Produced by Drew Trachtenberg
The Dow and the Nasdaq edged higher last week, but the S&P 500 stole the show. It gained eight-tenths of a percent and ended the week at a record high for the first time in five-and-a-half years. The index had lost more than half its value during the financial crisis.
For most market pros, the S&P is the best gauge of the market, and its record is a lot more significant than the 10 new highs for the Dow last month.
Last week's gains capped a powerful first-quarter rally, during which the Dow soared 11 percent and the S&P jumped 10 percent. And April has traditionally been a good month for the market. Stocks have posted gains every April for the past seven years. But a growing number of technical analysts say the market is now due for a mild pullback.
As for stocks to watch today, Pfizer (PFE), Merck (MRK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and other multinational drugmakers are assessing the impact of a ruling by the Supreme Court in India. It rejected a request from Novartis for patent protection on an expensive drug to fight leukemia, possibly setting a legal precedent for other drugs. India has become one of the world's leading producers of generic drugs.
Dell (DELL) has presented a bleak outlook for itself. A preliminary proxy statement made the case for why it needs to go ahead with a deal to go private. The company says it needs a major overhaul, and it projects declining revenue over the next few years.
And AT&T (T) says it will buy back up to 300 million additional shares of its stock, more than 5 percent of the total number of shares outstanding.
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