After Market: First Quarter of 2014 Was a Road to Nowhere

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After five straight quarters of strong gains, the market rode a treadmill for the past 3 months -- lots of movement, but it ended up pretty much where it started. Still, stocks posted solid gains on Monday, helped by comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen. She reassured investors, saying the Fed's bond-buying stimulus program is still needed, and would continue.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rallied 134 points, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 14 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 43 points. For the quarter, the Dow edged slightly lower, while the S&P and Nasdaq inched higher.

Microsoft (MSFT) led today's advance, gaining nearly 2 percent. The company's new CEO started to put his stamp on the company, naming new leaders at three of Microsoft's most important divisions.
While the rest of the market has drifted, its stock is up more than 10 percent in the first quarter.

Other blue chip leaders include: IBM (IBM), United Technologies (UTX) and Visa (V), all of which were up more than 1 percent on the day.

Biotech stocks rebounded from a rough couple of weeks. Industry leader Amgen (AMGN) gained more than 2 percent after its new cholesterol drug proved effective in a clinical trial. And Biogen Idec (BIIB) gained 4 percent after the FDA approved its treatment for a type of hemophilia.

Other gainers in the sector: Alnylam (ALNY) rose 9 percent, Gilead (GILD) gained and Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) both rose more than 3 percent.

But some of the other so-called momentum stocks continued to drift lower. Netflix (NFLX) lost 2 percent. It's now in the red for the year. Amazon.com (AMZN), Google (GOOG) and Tesla Motors (TSLA) all edged lower, but Facebook (FB) posted a gain. It slid 11 percent last week after making a $2 billion dollar acquisition of virtual-reality goggle maker Oculus.

Airline stocks took off. United (UAL) rose almost 4 percent, while American Airlines (AAL) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) both rose about 3.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), a leading marketer of eggs, jumped 9.5 percent as earnings topped expectations.

Panera Bread (PNRA) gained 1.5 percent as Wedbush Securities raised its rating to outperform.

And Micron Technologies (MU) jumped 8 percent ahead of earnings later this week.

What to Watch Tuesday:
  • Automakers release U.S. vehicle sales for March throughout the day.
  • The Commerce Department releases construction spending for February and the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for March, both at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
  • General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra testifies about auto recalls during a hearing before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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bps163

Hey I have a 1952 Chevy and it must have a bad switch it hasn't started in over 40 years. I want my money back

April 02 2014 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Eventually Super computers will trade stocks pushing the other traders out of the markets.The spoiled rotten will be applying for food stamps.

April 01 2014 at 12:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
weilunion

The stock market is fixed. It is owned and operated by the one percent. Most Americans have no stock at all and can't evens buy food or pay rent.

March 31 2014 at 9:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
worried man

High speed computers stole all the potential gains

March 31 2014 at 6:55 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to worried man's comment
weilunion

Do you really think that the Supreme Court, a subsidiary of the corporations, will come to your aid? Capitalism is the problem.

March 31 2014 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
k4jlp

Wow, look at those players with the high speed trading software sweat...a little restless last night huh?

March 31 2014 at 6:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to k4jlp's comment
Iselin007

I wonder if they take their Trading device to their Santanic meetings?

April 01 2014 at 12:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply