U.S. stocks began with modest gains Wednesday after economic reports yielded better-than-anticipated results on U.S. industrial production and the housing industry. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37 points to 12,669. The S&P 500 climbed 5 points to 1,336. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 9 points to 2,903. Weakness overseas, particularly in Asia doesn't seem to be hurting our markets this morning. The weakest sectors energy, materials, and industrials are finally getting a bid. GE is jumping 3% thanks to news GE Capital will start paying a dividend to their parent company once again. The oils look good this remaining along with the other commodity stocks. Patriot Coal is bucking the trend, down 2% on another downgrade. Rivals, Alpha Natural Resources and Peabody Energy are higher. SandRidge is higher by 7% on an upgrade. One industrial, Deere reported better than expected earnings, but the stock is lower this morning. The financials look good this morning. GE is not only helping the industrials, but also the financials and the Dow. AFLAC is higher on an upgrade. The techs opened higher, but are succumbing to profit-taking. Google is the stand out up 3%. Plenty of hedge fund managers have taken stakes in the tech titan in the last quarter. Ironically, Apple, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft opened higher, but then sold off. Salesforce.com is lower ahead of earnings tomorrow. The retail space is once again mixed. Fossil, Xylem, Pepsi, TJX, and Ross Stores are higher on upgrades. Chicos is higher by 4% on earnings. Target is higher by 2% on earnings. Talbots is jumping 5% as they draw closer to a takeover from a private equity firm. GM is up 5% as Berkshire Hathaway buys into the auto company. On the downside, Abercrombie & Fitch is dropping 11% following earnings, but JC Penney is the dog of the day down 14% after cutting their dividend and lowering guidance. Through the first hour the averages gave up most of the gains only to rebound. By the end of the first hour the Dow rose 90 points while the Nasdaq improved by 17 points. We're getting the rally today we expected yesterday. After the first hour the averages gave up most of the gains only to rebound once again. The volatility is creeping back into the markets once again. Through the lunch hour into the afternoon the averages dipped a couple more times, fighting to stay in the green. Google is helping lift the Nasdaq while GE, P&G, IBM, and Merck are leading the Dow. At 2 o'clock, the release of the Fed minutes sent the averages higher thanks to dovish comments about QE3. Although the rebound did not last. In the last hour the Nasdaq fell into the red as Apple pushed lower. The telecom, financials, material space pushed the Dow lower. At a conference today, short specialist David Einhorn mentioned he was questioning the growth of Dicks and Martin Marietta. Both stocks dropped over 4% on those comments. Down for a 10th out of the last 11 sessions, the Dow Industrials fell 33 points to 12,598, its lowest close since January. The S&P 500 Index declined 5 points to 1,324. The Nasdaq Composite shed 19 points to 2,874.
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