U.S. stocks on Friday opened the new quarter with gains after data pointed to robust manufacturing growth in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 67 points to 10,856. The S&P 500 Index rose 8 points to 1,149. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 18 points to 2,387. A good opening to start the new month and quarter with new cash flooding into the markets. On the earnings front, Accenture is up 6% following better than expected earnings. The commodities are performing well with gold, copper, oil, and other precious metals shooting higher. Freeport McMoran, Cliffs Natural Resources, and the fertilizers are all trading higher. Agrium is trading higher after signing a deal with Indonesian. The banks are trading higher even though Wells Fargo lowered numbers for a number of big banks. KeyCorp is up 3% on an upgrade. Eaton is higher on an upgrade. Metlife is higher after easing concerns about forward earnings. The techs are performing well. IBM is at new highs after HP announced a new CEO last night. HP is down nearly 3%. Google and Intel are higher on upgrades. Amazon was upgraded, but the stock is lower by 3%. Within the first hour the averages rallied, sold off, rallied, and then pulled back once again. A couple other earnings reports this morning. Christopher & Banks is down 15% following earnings. Lawson Software is down 2% after beating estimates. Through the morning and into the afternoon the averages slowly recovered with the Dow moving back into the green. The Nasdaq is still at the unchanged level. A couple of stocks are standing out for this first trading day of the fourth quarter. IBM is at a new high while Goldman Sachs and Freeport McMoRan are trading up 2% or more. The financials in general are performing well. In the last hour the averages remained in the green to start the new quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 41 points at 10,829, with 22 of its 30 components ending higher. The S&P 500 index rose 5 points to 1,146, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 2 points to 2,370. For the week, the three major averages closed modestly lower. Can't complain.
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