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The Markets Now: Mining Stocks Rise After Alcoa and China Data Is Released


Plus, Intel and Microsoft are up today.

Stocks have remained flat for most of the day. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 0.37% to 14,667.27. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 0.30% to 1,567.72, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) fell 0.28% to 3,231.17.

Precious metals and mining stocks have performed well today. China's policymakers may keep monetary policy loose as inflation increased at a lower-than-expected rate of 2.1% in March. Plus, Alcoa's (NYSE:AA) earnings beat yesterday caused some investors to be more optimistic on mining companies.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, or NFIB, reported today that the NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism has reversed its slow gains, falling 1.3 points to 89.4 in March. Since the recovery began in July 2009, the index has averaged 90.7 over 44 months. Businesses cited rising energy, health care, and regulatory compliance costs as factors that hurt profits.

The International Council of Shopping Centers reported today that its ICSC-Goldman Store Sales Index, which measures comparable store sales at major retailers, increased 0.7% week-over-week for the week ended April 6. Year-over-year, the index has increased 2.1%. The report stated that cold weather continued to hurt spring sales.

Johnson Redbook Service reported today that its Johnson Redbook Index, which measures sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores, increased 2.5% year-over-year for the week ended April 6. Johnson Redbook Service stated that Easter occurring in March this year hurt sales in April.

The US Census Bureau reported today that wholesale inventories decreased 0.3% from January to $501.4 billion in February. Total wholesale sales surged 1.7% in February, one of the strongest rates in two years. Wholesale sales for food products, drugs, and farm products were particularly strong.

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) spiked 8.20% to $20.33.

Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) rose 3.20% to $40.26.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) jumped 4.50% to $33.88.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) increased 2.59% to $29.33. Microsoft, along with companies like Nokia (NYSE:NOK), have asked European Union antitrust regulators to take action against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). The companies believe that Google is blocking competition in the mobile space through its Android operating system.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) climbed 2.42% to $21.60. Yesterday, Intel announced that it expects to release its Thunderbolt bidirectional data transfers by the end of the year. The Thunderbolt will transfer data up to speeds of 20 Gbps, more than double the speed of USB 3.0.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
Position in MSFT and INTC.
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