U.S. stocks began Tuesday with mild gains ahead of a report on consumer confidence and after better-than-expected data on U.S. home prices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19 points to 12,522. The S&P 500 Index rose 3 points to 1,317. The Nasdaq Composite added 11 points to 2,847. A quiet day with limited news to report. The beaten down energy sector is on the rise today. Conoco Philips is up 2% on an upgrade. Their spin off, Phillips 66 is up more up, 2.5% to start the day. The financials are also higher this morning. JP Morgan is up 2% on an upgrade. Morgan Stanley was downgraded, but the stock is higher. AIG is higher by 2% on an upgrade. In the tech space Google and Apple are higher, but the rest of the sector is flat. Intel is flat on an upgrade. Dell and HP are lower on downgrades. Ebay is higher by 2% on an upgrade. Facebook is higher once again. In the retail space Children's Place is higher by 2% thanks to insider buying. The material sector is mixed. Dow Chemical is lower on a downgrade. The fertilizers on the other hand are all strong. Potash, CF Industries, and Mosaic are higher by 3% this morning thanks to strong demand. The drug sector is creeping higher ahead of a decision from the Supreme Court regarding Obama-care. They only have three more days. At 10 o'clock a weaker than expected consumer sentiment number did little to change the major averages. After the first hour the Dow gave up its' gains. JP Morgan followed by Chevron are the strongest components and sectors today. The Nasdaq is holding on to modest gains. Through the morning the averages dipped only to rebound every time. Volume is light. News Corp is jumping 6.2% on news the company is reportedly considering a spinoff of its publishing businesses to place more emphasis on its faster-growing television and film units. Sounds like that stock is moving in the right direction. In the lunch hour the averages slowly improved moving into the green. Through the afternoon the averages kept improving rising as much as 70 points heading into the last hour when the averages slowly gave up most of the gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 32 points to end at 12,534. The S&P 500 index climbed 6 points to 1,319. The Nasdaq Composite gained 17 points to 2,854.
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