|16:23 EDT||CTCT||On The Fly: Closing Wrap |
Stocks on Wall Street were higher after the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting struck a particularly dovish note. The averages, which were higher for the second straight session ahead of the minutes release, climbed to their highs over the final two hours of trade. Each index posted gains of over 1%, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq again the biggest winner. ECONOMIC EVENTS: The minutes for the March 18-19 FOMC showed that some committee members were concerned that its future interest rate projections could be misconstrued by the market as advocating tighter monetary policies. The minutes also showed that committee members expect to continue tapering the Fed's asset purchases if the economy performs as expected going forward. Wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in February, matching economists' forecast. COMPANY NEWS: Several auto majors were in the news, notably General Motors (GM), which fell 91c, or 2.64%, to $33.62 as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration yesterday announced that it fined the automaker for failing to respond to the administration's inquiry into its recall related to faulty ignition switches in a timely manner. Analysts at Morgan Stanley also downgraded the stock to Underweight from Equal Weight. U.S.-listed shares of Toyota Motor (TM) fell $1.37, or 1.26%, to $107.73 after the company announced the recall of over 6M vehicles worldwide. A report from Automotive News said that Volkswagen (VLKAY) issued a stop-sale order on some of it newer-model cars, but U.S.-listed shares of the German automaker, which were upgraded earlier in the session by Bernstein to Outperform, were unfazed and gained $2.91, or 5.72%, to $53.78... Two notable initial public offerings took place today, with hotel chain operator La Quinta (LQ) gaining 12c, or 0.71%, to $17.12 and Chinese medical exam and screening center operator iKang Healthcare (KANG) gaining $1.20, or 8.57%, to $15.20, in their first day of trade. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was marketing software and solutions provider Constant Contact (CTCT), up $6.30, or 28.74%, to $28.22 after the company's preliminary first quarter revenue exceeded analysts' projection. Also higher was social media giant Facebook (FB), up $4.22, or 7.25%, to $62.41 after analysts at Susquehanna and SunTrust published positive commentary on the company. Among the noteworthy losers was Intuitive Surgical (ISRG), down $33.20, or 6.78%, to $456.64 after last night saying it expects first quarter revenue to come in well below expectations, though the stock was defended by no fewer than three analyst firms following the announcement. Also lower were a number of coal producers, including Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) and Walter Energy (WLT), which each lost more than 6%, and Arch Coal (ACI), which fell over 3%, after all three stocks were downgraded to Sell at UBS. INDEXES: The Dow was up 181.04, or 1.11%, to 16,437.18, the Nasdaq was up 70.91, or 1.72%, to 4,183.90, and the S&P 500 was up 20.22, or 1.09%, to 1,872.18.