Beware of the Ides of March. U.S. stocks opened modestly lower on Monday following a nice run up last week and concerns that credit risk had grown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8 points to 10,616. The S&P 500 Index dipped 3 points to 1,146. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 7 points to 2,360. The weakness is in most sectors. The financials are lower ahead of the release of Senator Dodd's financial reform package. UBS is modestly higher on positive comments regarding a turnaround. Metlife is higher following a great week last week. The techs are also lower this morning. Google is down 3% after announcing the withdraw from China. Competitor, Baidu.com is jumping 6% on that news. Apple is weak this morning as well. Akamai and Marvell are lower on cautious analyst comments. Research in Motion are higher on an upgrade. The retail sector is getting plenty of press this morning. Phillip Van Heusen is buying out Tommy Hilfiger. Van Heusen is jumping 11%. Walmart, Saks, Nike, and Home Depot are higher on upgrades. Pepsi is higher after raising their dividend and announcing a share buyback. Best Buy is lower on a downgrade. After the first hour the averages still hadn't gone far. The commodities are lower this morning. Consol is buying a division of Dominion for $3.5 billion. Dominion is modestly higher while Consol is down 8%. The selling accelerated through the morning. Nothing really looks good. In the afternoon the averages listlessly meandered around the unchanged level. Senator Dodd released some of the specifics of his banking reform package however the financials are not reacting. In the last hour the Dow recovered thanks to GE, Walmart, Coke, Cisco, Merck and many others. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 17 points to end at 10,642. The S&P 500 Index added half a point to close at 1,150, while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 4 points to 2,362.
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