Stocks retreated on Monday due to new concerns about the pace of economic growth in China, and the on-going tensions in Ukraine. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 34 points, but that was well higher than its worst level of the day. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost less than 2 points, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) dropped 1 point.
Chinese exports fell far more than expected last month, putting downward pressure on the stocks of a number of big industrial players. Alcoa (AA) and Freeport McMoRan (FCX) lost more than 2 percent, and Peabody Energy (BTU) fell 3 percent. Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) lost 4 percent. It was also downgraded to 'sell' by Axiom.
Boeing (BA) lost more than 1 percent on news that cracks have been discovered in the wings of some 787s. And General Motors (GM) lost 1½ percent following reports about how difficult and expensive it could be for the company to repair the 1.6 million cars it's recalling.
On the upside, fuel cell stocks remained hot. Plug Power (PLUG) jumped 25 percent. That's on top of last week's 77 percent surge on news of a deal with Walmart (WMT). Over the past year, Plug has gone from 14 cents a share, to more than $10 a share today -- a gain of more than 7,000 percent. And that's helping other players in the industry. Ballard Power (BLDP) soared 30 percent, Hydrogenics (HYGS) up 16 percent and Fuel Cell Energy, up 11 percent.
Merger and spinoff news sent several stocks sharply higher. Some newspaper companies gained on word they're looking to sell the consortium that owns Cars.com for $3 billion. McClatchy (MNI) jumped 14 percent, A.H. Belo (AHC) rose 5 percent and Gannett (GCI) gained 2 percent.
Chiquita Brands (CQB) gained 10 percent. It's merging with an Irish rival.
Chip-maker Montage Technology (MONT) jumped 20 percent after getting a takeover bid from a Chinese company. And FMC (FMC) rose nearly 7 percent. It's splitting itself into two publicly traded companies.
Finally, Herbalife (HLF) gained 2 percent. The New York Times reports that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has made extraordinary efforts to prompt federal regulators to investigate Herbalife. Ackman has made a $1 billion bet against the company -– so far, a losing proposition.
What to Watch Tuesday:
- At 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases its survey of job openings and labor turnover for January, and the Commerce Department reports wholesale trade data for January.