US equities generally trended higher today, but tech stocks lagged despite strong performance from Chinese Internet providers such as SINA (NASDAQ:SINA). The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 0.17% today after reaching an intraday high of 1882. Health care and utilities stocks were the worst performers due to a three basis point rise in the 10-year Treasury yield. Financial stocks led, continuing their streak of outperformance from the past two weeks.
Jobless claims showed a surprise drop to 323,000 in the prior week, better than the 336,000 that had been expected. January factory orders declined by 0.7%, slightly worse than the -0.5% that had been expected, and December orders were revised down to a -2.0% monthly rate from -1.5%.
Shares of Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) fell 6.22% today after the fuel cell company announced a 3.9 million share offering that should net the company approximately $21.5 million. The stock had risen 45% since last Friday on news of a deal to supply fuel cells to Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT).
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the government's February nonfarm payrolls report. The consensus economist estimate is that the US added 150,000 net jobs in the month. However, due to a weak ADP private payrolls and ISM services report on Wednesday, a number of economists have lowered their estimate, which indicates that market participants are expecting the final figure to be below the consensus. Also scheduled for release is the January trade balance.
In overseas news, Germany will release industrial production from January. Economists are expecting month-over-month growth of 0.8% after a decline of 0.6% in the month prior. Also scheduled for release is Japan's leading economic indicators and Switzerland's unemployment rate.
The only two earnings reports scheduled for tomorrow are Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) and Big Lots (NYSE:BIG).
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