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Tech and Health-Care Stocks Led Today's Rally After a Sluggish Overnight


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

US stocks started the day in the negative but continued to reflect Friday's strength by rallying early and finishing the day near their highs. The overnight weakness was attributed to reports that Russia was moving powerful antiship missile batteries near the Baltic Sea, even though it indicated it was withdrawing troops from the Ukraine border. Equity trading volumes in the US were at their lowest levels of the year for a nonholiday session.

The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained 0.40% in today's session. Tech and health-care stocks led while utilities severely lagged, despite a decline in interest rates.

Italian stocks were the worst performer in Europe today. Newly elected Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government faces a vote of confidence after economic growth has continued to slow and a new corruption scandal has arisen in Milan. In addition, volatility has increased in front of the EU's Parliament elections this Sunday, where broader voting might cause Renzi's time in office to be short lived.

Merger mania consumed the top news stories of the day. AT&T (NYSE:T) finalized its deal of DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) for $48 billion, but worries over antitrust laws kept the latter's stock price well below the deal price of $95. AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) turned down a renewed bid from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), which raised its offer price to 55 pounds from 53.5 pounds. AstraZeneca believes the bid still undervalues the company and it would require a bid of at least 58.5 pounds to be competitive. Lastly, Dealreporter reported that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) had held talks with Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), which may be an obvious conclusion after the DirecTV/AT&T deal.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

There are no major economic reports scheduled in the US tomorrow. Federal Reserve Presidents Plosser and Dudley, both FOMC voters this year, are scheduled to give speeches.

The only economic reports of note tonight are the German producer price index and UK consumer and producer price indexes. With regards to the UK consumer inflation, the Bank of England anticipates that inflation will begin trending higher, even though it has been in a downtrend for the past 18 months.

Only a few companies are scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. Notables include Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), TJX (NYSE:TJX), Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI), Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU), and (NYSE:CRM).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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