After Market: Upbeat Economic News and Calm in Crimea Propel Stocks Higher

Stocks Tuesday added to Monday's big gains, showing investors are not afraid of Vladimir Putin. Instead, investors focused on some more upbeat economic news, ignoring the latest moves by Russia to annex Crimea. The rationale for the market reaction is that thus far, the troubles in Ukraine have continued without any new violence.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 89 points; that's on top of yesterday's 181 point rally. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 53 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 13 points.

Microsoft (MSFT) led both blue chips and tech stocks. It jumped 4 percent to its highest level in more than 13 years. The company is reportedly ready to release a version of its popular Office software package for the Apple iPad. Analysts say that could add more than $1 billion in new revenue.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) rose 3½ percent as the stock was upgraded by Barclay's, despite the fact that it's been on a tear lately. Over the past six months, HP shares have jumped more than 40 percent. Also in the tech sector, Micron Technology (MU) gained 2 percent and Google (GOOG) added more than 1 percent.

Healthcare, drug and biotechs also had a good day. Amgen, (AMGN) United Healthcare (UNH), Pfizer (PFE), HCA (HCA), and Gilead (GILD) all posted solid gains.

Elsewhere, Future Fuel (FF) jumped 17 percent after the biofuels company posted a four-fold increase in earnings.

Penn Virginia (PVR) gained 15 percent. Investor George Soros raised his stake in the oil and gas company.

Fossil Group (FOSL) rose 4 percent. It's working with Google (GOOG) on Android-based wearables.

Some high-end fashion companies – Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade – gained on positive comments from Barclay's, but it put a 'sell' on Michael Kors, which fell 2 percent.

Also losing ground today:
  • GameStop (GAME) fell 3½ percent on news that it's getting a new competitor. Retail giant Walmart (WMT) plans to begin buying and selling used video games.
  • The photo website Shutterfly (SFLY) fell 5 percent as Cowen cut its rating to "underperform."
  • And WiFi provider Towerstream (TWER) fell 7 percent after posting weaker than expected earnings.

What to Watch Wednesday:
  • The Commerce Department releases the U.S. current account trade measure for the fourth quarter at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • Federal Reserve policymakers meet to set interest rates; statement and projections due at 2:00 p.m.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a press conference at 2:30 p.m.
These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial statements:
  • FedEx (FDX)
  • General Mills (GIS)
  • Guess (GES)
  • K.B. Home (KBH)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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Also on here is a story about the Universe expanding but the comments don't work so I'm commenting here. I apologize for breaking Professor Linde's bubble what with the popping open of the champagne and all. My family is from the same town as Einstein. When I was only a boy I used to go next door to Mrs. Hume, a school teacher and work on trigonometry problems for fun.
The Universe operates on Einstein's E = mc^2 . Like all equations it also operates on mc^2 = E or in both directions. The Universe is continuous forever into the past and forever into the future. Sorry, no bang. Background radiation detection is just that, background noise left over from endlessly forming and ending stars and galaxies. The Doppler is not a shift at all, the light simply slows down over billions of years. Eventually light actually stops and reforms back into matter - energy and matter are the same thing. The star stuff you and I are made from comes from light, not exploded neutron stars. Of couse there is more to this, but it's worth a considerable sum so as a trade secret I'm not disclosing it.

March 19 2014 at 5:48 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

What upbeat economic news would that be ? How many companies have announced in the last month that they will be closing stores and down sizing ? That does not sound like upbeat economic news to me !! More made up numbers by this administration is more likely . Kind of impossible for the unemployment rate to be dropping when more people are actually out of work now than there were a couple months ago and that does not count the people who cannot collect unemployment now and have fallen off the list . This does not make the unemployment rate any better no matter what this administration is saying . Not to mention that the debt is now right at 17.5 trillion and climbing . Funny how their own Government web site for the Debt clock shows the actual unemployed number to be 19,484,266 and the official number the Government reports is almost half of that at 10,375,888 , huge difference and that would make the actual unemployment rate near 15% , not 7.6% .

March 19 2014 at 3:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

After Market: Upbeat Economic News and Calm in Crimea Propel Stocks Higher....

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What upbeat economic news ?!?!?.....

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 18 2014 at 6:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply