February 28, 2024

Stocks Higher Amid Caution as the Quarter Winds Down

The Standard Poor’s 500-share index has risen 4.5 percent in the first quarter and is on track for its seventh positive quarter in the last eight.

Technology and retail stocks were among the better-performing sectors Tuesday. The SP Information Technology Index had lost as much as 4 percent in the aftermath of the disaster in Japan, while the S.P. Retail Index dropped as much as 2.1 percent.

The S.P. Information Technology Index was up 0.5 percent on Tuesday and the S.P. Retail Index was up 1.1 percent.

“A lot of stocks got taken down sharply as a result of what was going on in Japan, and very unfairly, particularly in the technology space — and you are seeing technology and retail kind of lead the charge higher,” said Peter Kenny, managing director at Knight Equity Markets in Jersey City.

Home Depot was among the Dow’s best performers after saying late Monday that it would buy back $1 billion of outstanding shares through an accelerated program. Its stock rose 2.2 percent to $37.47 and was among the Dow’s top percentage gainers.

In 1 p.m. trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 64.22 points, or 0.5 percent. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 4.88 points, or 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite index was up 17.63 points, or 0.7 percent.

The Nasdaq was helped by strength in large-cap tech shares. Amazon.com rose 2.6 percent to $173.66 after it introduced a service offering remote access to music.

Cisco Systems rose 1 percent to $17.30 after it said it plans to buy newScale Inc. for an undisclosed amount to expand its cloud computing services.

On the downside, the Apollo Group, an education company, fell 6.9 percent to $39.42 after t said new enrollment fell 45 percent in second quarter.

Lennar fell 3.9 percent to $18.99 after swinging to a first-quarter profit but reporting a drop in revenue.

Wal-Mart Stores was urging the Supreme Court in oral arguments on Tuesday to reject a case brought on behalf of female employees who allege the retailer gave women less pay and fewer promotions in the largest, class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit ever. Wal-Mart, a Dow component, was up 0.1 percent to $52.25.

On the economic front, single-family home prices fell for the sixth straight month in January, according to the Standard Poor’s Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas. However, the drop was not as much as expected.

After the market opened, data showed consumer confidence fell in March as expectations about jobs and income growth worsened, according to the Conference Board, a private research group.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=90a9ad7180ac0b7c8e9009d35d611011

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