U.S. stocks opened modestly higher on Monday, the start of first-quarter earnings season, with investors optimistic about corporate results ahead. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 29 points to 12,409. Alcoa is up a percent ahead of earnings tonight. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2 points to 1,331. The Nasdaq Composite gained 10 points to 2,790. Plenty of news to start the week with a couple of takeovers. Global Crossing and Tasty Foods are up 58% and 145% respectively after agreeing to be taken over. Plenty of takeover rumors hitting the markets as well including Tyco which is up 4%. The commodities look good. Cliffs Natural Resources is up a percent on positive comments regarding an arbitration case with steelmaker Arcelor Mittal. Freeport McMoran is higher on an upgrade. The oils look great due to Morgan Stanley upgrading a number of the drillers. Rare earth metal company Molycorp is jumping 6% this morning on an upgrade. The stock is up 50% in the last month. Not bad. The financials look good. Bank of America and Wells Fargo received positive comments. Janus Capital is up 3% on an upgrade. The big cap techs are the weakest link this morning. Apple, Google, and IBM are all lower. Intel is modestly higher on an upgrade. Symantec is higher as well on an upgrade. Within the first hour the Dow rose 50 points before pulling back a little. The Nasdaq fell into the red due to the weakness in Apple among others. Through the morning the Dow improved again as the Nasdaq moved back into the green. The auto sector is weak on comments from Toyota regarding possible supply shortages due to the Japanese earthquake disaster. Through the morning the rally fizzled. During the lunch hour the averages fell into the red. Fewer and fewer stocks are left in the green. In the afternoon Goldman Sachs put out a negative piece on a number of commodity metals indicating short term they may be due for a correction. Investors took the news to heart selling the commodity space sending all three major averages into the red. In the last hour the major averages were able to recover. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up a point at 12,381. The S&P 500 closed down 3 points at 1,324. The Nasdaq Composite lost 8 points to 2,771.
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