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Market Recap: Stocks Advance With Retail and Tech


Poor same store sales couldn't bring down the markets.

Stocks advanced for the first time in three trading sessions led by positive gains in the retail and tech sectors. The Dow Industrials added +54 points, or +0.44% to 12581, the S&P 500 added +6 points, or +0.45% to 1360, and the Nasdaq Composite gained +29 points, or +1.27% to 2351.

Retailers were in focus today as many companies reported same-store sales figures for the month of March. Although many of the results were poor with performances coming in below analyst expectations, a few notables such as Wal-Mart (WMT) countered with upside guidance. Although the company reported SSS figures of 0.7% (analysts had expected 1.0%), the world's largest retailer said earnings for the first quarter would be 74 cents to 76 cents per share. Its previous guidance called for profits of 70 cents to 74 cents. WMT touched a new 52 week high to close +0.52% to $54.66.

Other stocks were mixed. Home Depot (HD) gained +2.5% to $28.38. Target (TGT) closed +1.5% to $53.16, and JCPenney (JCP) finished +2.95% to $40.07. Leading to the downside were TJX (TJX) -3.7% to $30.88, and Gap (GPS) -2.22% to $18.47. The broader retail ETF (RTH) closed +1.83% to $93.53. See Professor Jeff Macke's Retail Round-Up: Masters of Their Domain?

Tech stocks also lead the markets higher. Topping the headlines in this sector this morning was news that Yahoo (YHOO) was attempting to thwart Microsoft's (MSFT) $44.6 bln bid by partnering with AOL. Microsoft also had its own strategy as it was in talks with News Corp (NWS) to up their bid.

Professor Sean Udall offered his comments on the Buzz: "Yahoo is testing Google's (GOOG) ad service, talking with AOL, and Microsoft is talking to News Corp. Heck, who needs the day time Soaps. This is as good as it gets. My take is still the same. I would rather own GOOG and MSFT and occasionally Baidu (BIDU) (at lower levels), than mess around with YHOO shares at current levels and still feel good about selling out my YHOO stake back on the deal announcement."

For another tech perspective, check out Toddo's Random Thoughts.

Elsewhere, Professor Jeffrey Cooper was eyeing other stocks in the tech sector, "Get ready for a volatile day. Many go-to go-go names such as Apple (AAPL) and Research in Motion (RIMM) are poised to trade higher off textbook pullback set-up" Those stocks both closed +2% to $154.60 and $120.51 respectively. See his column Dramatic Turn and Breakout Setting Up.

In other news, DuPont (DD) issued upside guidance this morning for the first quarter. The global chemical manufacturer and the world's second largest seed producer said 1Q profits would come in approximately $1.29 per share above estimates of $1.17. As reasons for the upward guidance, the company cited strong growth in the agriculture business as well as "rapid" growth in emerging markets. In addition the company stated strength in the first quarter would offset continued weakness in U.S. construction and automotive markets. For the full year, the company said profits would be in the range of $3.40 to $3.55 a share compared with estimates of $3.44 per share. DD shares finished +1.22% to $49.64. The news boosted a number of the Ag plays. Potash (POT) closed +1.26% to $178.10. Agrium (AGU) closed +2.22% to $71.75, and Monsanto (MON) finished +0.32% to $120.27.

In commodities, crude oil declined -0.77 to 110.10. Gold fell -5.50 to 928.10. Silver dropped -0.285 to 17.915, and copper fell -4.10 to 398.70.

The dollar index fell -0.12% to 71.708.

For more Buzz insight, check out Minyanville's Buzz Bits.

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: OMTR, VCLK, AAPL, RIMM, MOS, LNN, SPX, GOOG, CPB, GS, FCSX, AMG, GEF, JASO, SPWR, CCJ, MOO, SHLD, ARST, ma

Some bearish trade or investment ideas: FNM, BNI, GLD

See you tomorrow! Have a great night!
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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