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US: Wall Street still going strong

 Natalya Malykh, Leading Analyst, Global Markets (Finam)


On Monday, April 2, US equity benchmarks closed higher after the publication of American manufacturing numbers. As the Institute for Supply Management’s report showed, American manufacturing picked up pace more than expected in March, and news that construction spending fell 1.1% in February and the Eurozone saw weak stats failed to cap an upturn on the Street, and the indexes closed near multi-year highs.

All the Dow’s sectors edged higher, with tech and natural-resource companies faring the best.

By the closing bell, the blue-chip benchmark Dow edged up 0.40% to 13,264.49, the broader market index S&P 500 advanced 0.74% to 1,418.90 and technology-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.91% to settle at 3,119.70.

Blue chips closed mostly higher. The advancers were led by Alcoa (+1.50%), Bank of America (+1.15%), Boeing (+1.08%), Chevron (+1.02%), while Home Depot (-0.64%) topped the list of decliners.

As already noted above, commodities stocks outperformed and in the M&M sector Monday’s star performers were precious metal companies Platinum Group Metals (+8.16%), Stillwater Mining (+4.03%) and Golden Minerals (+2.25%).

Shares of oil services provider Willbros Group surged 21.30% after management announced FY12 sales guidance that beat analyst expectations (USD 1.9 bn vs. USD 1.79 bn).

Shares of leading global online retailer Amazon.com slid 2.2% after being downgraded from Buy to Neutral at Bank of America.

Shares of supermarket operator Roundy’s Inc spiked 7.57% after the company was given a weighting in the Russell 2000 Index.

The world’s largest coupon company Groupon claimed sales declined in Q4 and its auditor found some discrepancies in the financial statement. Groupon shares slumped 16.89% by the closing bell.

In commodities, NYMEX light, sweet crude for May delivery rose USD 2.21, or 2.1%, to USD 105.23/bbl. Crude futures climbed on improved business activity in American manufacturing in March that the ISM recorded.

COMEX gold futures for April delivery advanced USD 8.20, or 0.5%, to USD 1,677.50/oz. Gold contracts jumped on expectations that one of the world’s biggest gold markets in India, which was paralyzed by a 2-week strike of local jewelers protesting against hikes in gold import duties, would resume activity.