Stocks rode a roller coaster on Monday. After the two-day sell-off last week, skittishness by investors was to be expected. Many reports earlier in the day focused on a key technical level: S&P 500 1775. Mid-morning we breached that level with the major index going below 1773.
That breach triggered a rally as investors used the discounts to buy shares. By the end of the day, selling returned. All three major indexes closed the day in the red. The Dow Industrial Index finished at 15,838, down 41 points. The S&P was down 8 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq was the big loser shedding 1% to 4084.
Caterpillar jumps after strong report
Ironically, the big winner today was Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT). The giant international company — heavily dependent on the very emerging market currently giving investors fits — released earnings before the bell. Caterpillar posted a profit that exceeded expectations by 26 cents per share. Revenues were also better than expected. The company raised guidance and authorized a $10 billion stock buy-back.
The company expects sales to stabilize thanks to a growing global economy. Shares gained more than 5% on the news.
David Faber is out recommending investors short a basket of stocks including the much publicized and heavily traded Twitter (NASDAQ: TWTR). Good idea or not, the stock is selling off today, perhaps in anticipation of Facebook (NYSE: FB) reporting results later this week.
Shares are well off their highs, but still above their initial offering price. Current selling pressure can be attributed to worries about valuations in social networking stocks.
Sprint and Vodafone big movers in mobile
Shares of Sprint (NYSE: S) gained 6% thanks to the rollout of 4G LTE. The addition of 40 new markets brings the total 4G LTE rollout to 340 cities nationwide.
AT&T (NYSE: T) announced it would not be acquiring Vodafone Group (NASDAQ: VOD). That disappointment sent shares of Vodafone down 3%. Shares of AT&T were up fractionally on the day.
Geron shares collapse on study update
Not all is rosy in the biotech space. Shares of Geron (NASDAQ: GERN) lost 15% on Monday on seemingly innocuous news. Enrollment in a Mayo Clinic study has been stopped at 79 patients with 20 of those patients discontinuing treatment since the studies inception.
That was enough to spook investors, who sold the stock on heavy volume.
The Stock Market Today: On Deck
Stocks were looking to open strongly higher before a weak durable goods report put investors in a foul mood. Futures had been higher throughout the morning, but are now flat.
The big headline for the day is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). The technology bellwether reported results after the market closed. Weak iPhone sales had the stock down more than 7% in after-hours trading.
Other stocks to keep an eye on today include Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Ford (NYSE: F) and Dupont (NYSE: DD). All three released earnings that were positive lifting shares in pre-market trading.
Will it hold in a negative environment for the stock market today? We shall see.
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