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Semiconductor, Biotech Sectors Lead Relief Rally on Deal Chatter


Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

Biotech showed massive strength today as the high-octane sector extended its run off the Thursday morning low.

The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) rose 2.0% to $347.46 today, led by Biomarin (BMRN).

Deutsche Bank said Biomarin could be worth more than $170 per share in a takeover, and the stock rose 11.5% to $128.78.

Deal talk also boosted the lagging semiconductor sector, which has been weak as of late due to weak guidance from leaders Intel (INTC) and Sandisk (SNDK). Late in the trading day, the Wall Street Journal reported that Intel is in talks to acquire chipmaker Altera (ALTR), sending shares of the latter up 28%.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 2.8%.

The impressive biotech and semiconductor rallies boosted the NASDAQ Composite, which was up 0.6% vs. 0.2% for the S&P 500.

Stocks also received a small boost at the close as Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a speech that "a rather gradual rise in the federal funds rate will be appropriate over the next few years."

On the economic data front, the final estimate of fourth-quarter GDP growth came in at 2.2%, missing the 2.4% consensus. While personal consumption expenditure estimates were increased from the last revision, inventory investment was a drag. 

The March University of Michigan Sentiment Survey was 93, edging out expectations of a 92 reading.

Crude oil fell nearly 6% to $48.39 on reports of extremely high exports from ports on the Baltic Sea. Traders have been very concerned about oversupplies of oil. The weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count was announced today, showing a continued reduction in drilling rigs, but that did nothing to stop the bleeding.

The US dollar was roughly flat against the euro and yen today, which may have contributed to profit taking in commodities after a strong week for oil, gold, and silver.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

We'll have some big data points on Monday, starting with February Personal Income and Spending numbers, along with the PCE Deflator, at 8:30 a.m. ET. That will be followed by Pending Home Sales at 10:00 a.m. and the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity Index at 10:30.

Overseas, Germany will report CPI data at 8:00 a.m.

There are no major companies reporting earnings.

Twitter: @T3Live
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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