U.S. stocks opened sharply higher as Wall Street welcomed news of a ceasefire in Libya and a coordinated effort by industrialized nations to bring the Japanese yen down from historic highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 144 points to 11,919 led by a 2% rally in Caterpillar. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 14 points to 1,288. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 26 points to 2,662. Everything is good this morning. The commodities are in the lead once again. Diamond Offshore is higher on an upgrade. LDK Solar is one of the few commodities lower following earnings. The financials are up once again following a nice rally in the last hour of trading yesterday. The big banks are up over a percent on hopes they will get government approval today to raise their dividends once again. Fifth third is up 2% on an upgrade. The insurance stocks also look great. The tech stocks are higher, but not up as much as the broader market. Case in point, Apple is only up half a percent this morning. Research in Motion is up a percent on an upgrade. Cisco Systems is up 2% after the company announced their first dividend in history to shareholders on record before March 31st. The US auto stocks are higher as Ford and GM received upgrades. Tata Motors is lower as the company said they would pass along the higher prices. FedEx is higher on an upgrade. Through the first hour the averages succumbed to a little profit-taking. The Nasdaq is only up 10 points as Apple fell into negative territory. In fact a number of high flying stocks from last month are lower like Salesforce.com, F5 Networks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Deckers Outdoors, Netflix, and Priceline.com. Through the morning the averages pulled back from the highs. The Nasdaq gave up most of its gains thanks to weakness in Apple and Google. The Dow is holding up better thanks to the financials. As expected the big banks did get approval to raise their dividends once again and they didn't waste any time. JP Morgan is jumping 3% after raising their dividend and initiating a share buyback. All the other big banks are up 2% each. In the last hour the averages gave up more of their gains outside the financials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 83 points at 11,858, led by J.P. Morgan Chase and Caterpillar. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,279. The Nasdaq Composite gained 7 to 2,643. The Dow fell 1.5% for the week, the S&P 500 lost 1.9%, and the Nasdaq sank 2.7%.
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