Markets & Finance

Stocks End Mixed


Stocks ended mixed on Monday as lackluster sales from 3M (MMM) dragged the Dow industrials down while the broader market rose on upbeat earnings from other sectors.

The Dow Jones industrial average was off 16.26 points, or 0.16%, to 10,711.25. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3.36 points, or 0.29%, to 1,145.98. The Nasdaq composite index added 4.77 points, or 0.25%, to 1,912.92.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, among the companies due to report results are soft drink giant Coca-Cola (KO), financial services outfit Washington Mutual (WM), and computer-storage company EMC (EMC).

On Tuesday, investors will also get a read of inflation at the wholesale level. The producer price index (PPI) for March is seen rising 0.7% vs. a 0.4% increase in January. Stripping out volatile food and energy prices, the core PPI is expected to increase 0.2% in the month vs. 0.1% in the prior month.

In a separate report, March new housing starts are seen declining to a 2 million annualized pace from 2.195 million in the previous month.

On Monday, 3M reported higher earnings and confirmed it was on target to meet its full-year profit guidance but sales results disappointed investors. The news came on the heels of Friday's sharp losses, with the Dow industrials closing at their lowest level in nearly two years after lackluster results from IBM Corp. (IBM).

The Nasdaq was propped up by news that Adobe Systems (ADBE), which makes document-design software, will buy Macromedia (MACR) in a stock deal worth about $3.4 billion.

In other stocks news, fiber optics outfit Corning (GLW) said it sees its quarterly results topping expecations, boosting its stock.

Also on a positive note Monday, Bank of America, the third largest U.S. bank, reported a sharp increase in quarterly earnings that exceeded Wall Street expectations.

Elesewhere in the banking sector, SunTrust (STI), the seventh largest U.S. bank, posted a 36% rise in first-quarter profit rose 36%, thanks to a strong showing from its consumer banking unit and due to its acquisition of National Commerce Financial.

Meantime, drugmaker Eli Lilly (LLY) posted higher first-quarter earnings from a year earlier but its sales of several key drugs were dampened by competition.

Hasbro (HAS), the second-largest U.S. toy maker, posted a loss vs. a profit a year ago because of lower revenue and higher costs.

Parker Hannifin (PH), which makes industrial products, posted higher quarterly profits thanks to strong North America demand in the oil and gas, mining, construction, and heavy-duty truck sectors.

Crude oil finished lower by 12 cents to $50.37 a barrel in Nymex trading Monday after hitting an eight-week low of $49.66 earlier in the session. Hedge funds were bailing out on a perception that increasing supplies will outweight strong demand, at least in the short term, according to Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

Treasury Market

Treasuries ended mostly lower in price with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note rising to 4.27%. The Treasury rally stalled earlier as stocks found a footing, but selling resumed in earnest on market-unfriendly comments from a Federal Reserve official.

World Markets

European stock markets closed lower on Monday in reaction to New York's late Friday skid and worries about potential global economic slowdown. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was down 64.50 points, or 1.32%, to 4,827.10 BP and Shell Transport & Trading were lower even though Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the shares to "buy" from neutral.

Germany's DAX index fell 110.05 points, or 2.55%, to 4,202.20. IWKA was lower after the company said it expects 2005 operating profit to fall from its year-earlier level amid fewer orders from the automotive industry.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index lost 82.69 points, or 2.05%, to 3,949.59. Alcatel and STMicroelectronics were lower after Philips NV said its first quarter earnings slumped 79%.

Major Asian indexes closed sharply lower on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 432.25 points, or 3.80%, to close at 10,938.44, tracking the fall seen on Wall Street last Friday. The anti-Japanese sentiment in China also weighed on the country's stocks. On fears of a boycott of Japanese products in China, big exporters Sony and Toshiba fell 3.7% and 2.3%, respectively.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index dropped 283.52 points, or 2.08%, to close at 13,355.23.


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