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Market Recap: Monday Drag; Stocks Finish Flat

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Stocks didn't have much to rally on today. Markets end flat.

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U.S. stocks were mixed in today's trading. The Dow Industrials closed -7.5 points, or -0.06% to 12,258, the S&P 500 finished +0.71 points, or +0.05% to 1,331, and the Nasdaq Composite lost -12 points, or -0.57% to 2,258.

The equity markets were weak for much of the day with economic data weighing on investors. The Institute for Supply Management's Factory Index fell to 48.3 from 50.7. Although the figure was better than expectations of 48.0, it still marked a contractionary environment as readings under 50 show a decline. Further, construction spending on a month-over-month basis declined -1.7% vs. expectations of -0.7%. For more analysis, read Professor Kevin Depew's Five Things You Need To Know.

Financial stocks finished mostly in the red after receiving more analyst downgrades and tech shares weren't particularly pleasing to the bulls either. Toddo mentioned key notables on the Buzz.

"We always talk about how you can learn a lot just by watching," said Toddo. "My eyes… were spying heavy financials and struggling beta. There's a rule of thumb that says when Goldman (GS) and Google (GOOG) are pointing the same way, the tape has a tendency to follow. That, along with the tenor outside energy and metals, was cause for pause and remains a principal point of concern."

GS closed -2.68% to $165.08. Google fell -3.1% to $456.50. Other notables included Apple (AAPL) closing -2.7% to $121.73. Research In Motion (RIMM) fell -3.5% to $100.15, and Baidu (BIDU) lost -4.5% to $240.01. Read Toddo's Random Thoughts.

Housing stocks performed poorly on the day as well. Topping headlines were predictions by Freddie Mac (FRE) that mortgage rates would plunge to its lowest levels in 45 years. But Professor Jeff Macke noted the sentiment in one area of the country, "The general vibe in Miami was one of concern, if not outright gloom, regarding real estate. Residential, commercial, collateralized; it all feels like a story still unwinding in a negative way (as opposed to "bottoming") in South Florida. The easiest comparable was the feeling of being in San Francisco when the tech bubble burst, when every potential light at the end of the tunnel seemed more like an oncoming train." Notable decliners included Lennar (LEN) dropping -10% to $16.73. Meritage Homes (MTH) falling -5.02% to $14.38, Pulte Homes (PHM) falling -7% to $12.60, and Hovnanian (HOV) losing -7.5% to $8.43. Read Professor Macke's Miami Rockin' But Reeling.

In commodities, gold started off the month of March much the same way it has performed this year. Gold futures moved higher adding +11.5 points to 986.50. Crude oil added +0.69 to 102.50. Silver gained +0.477 to 20.285, and copper added +7.30 to 392.50. Check out Professor Lance Lewis' article Gold Breaks Out Big Guns.

The dollar index continued to decline losing -0.27 to 73.694.

Below is a recap of some of the idea flow on today's Buzz & Banter. Please note that stocks may appear in both bullish and bearish categories, due to long and short term trades by our many Minyanville professors.

Some bullish trade or investment ideas: CSCO, GFI, BIDU, AAPL, CLF, FTI, GPS, WMT, GLD, USO, MICC, IYT, GOOG

Some bearish trade or investment ideas: TGT, MCO, MA, AEM, F, GM


Enjoy the rest of the night, Minyans! See you in the morning!

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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