The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.06% to 16,256.27, while the S&P 500 added 0.38% to 1,851.96. The Nasdaq increased 0.81% to 4,112.99, ending a 3.7% tumble across the prior two trading sessions.
- Industrial bellwether Alcoa (AA) kicked off earnings season on Tuesday, posting first-quarter 2014 profit of 9 cents a share on $5.45 billion in revenue. Wall Street expected earnings of 5 cents a share on revenue of $5.55 billion.
- The Bank of Japan decided not to expand its monetary stimulus program on Tuesday, as expected, despite facing a sales tax hike and slumping equity market. The central bank voted unanimously after its policy meeting to maintain stimulus at an annual pace of 60 trillion to 70 trillion yen ($589 million to $687 billion). The BOJ said business sentiment was improving though some companies are cautious on the outlook.
- In international markets, the Hang Seng closed 0.98% higher while the Nikkei slumped 1.36% after failing to receive additional stimulus. Germany's DAX fell 0.21% while the FTSE was off 0.49%. U.K. industrial production rose more than forecast in February by 0.9% due to a surge in factory output.
- In other news, pro-Russian protesters have seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine, prompting the nation to send in additional police forces. Russia called on Ukraine to stop all military preparations or risk civil war.
- The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that the global economic recovery is broadening, but the changing external environment poses new challenges to emerging markets and developing economies. As such, the IMF forecasts global growth to average 3.6% in 2014, up from 3% in 2013, but down from the prior 3.7% estimate.
- The IMF said that new worries on the horizon include persistently low inflation in advanced economies, a weaker outlook for emerging markets than thought in the second half of last year, and recent geopolitical strains. Ongoing risks identified previously include finishing the financial sector reform agenda, high debt levels in many countries, stubbornly high unemployment, and concerns about emerging markets. In Japan, economic activity overall is projected to slow moderately in response to a tightening fiscal policy stance in 2014 to 2015, starting with a rise in the consumption tax.
- First Solar (FSLR) was the top performer in the S&P 500, rising 7%, while Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) slid 3.8% to close as the index's worst performer.
- Nokia (NOK) popped 5% after gaining Chinese government approval for the sale of its mobile handset business to Microsoft (MSFT) for $7.4 billion, a deal the company expects to close this month.
- Google jumped 3.1% after The New York Times reported that the company is aiming to sell Google Glass to business users, hoping that they will appeal more to businesses than they have to consumers, who have been more wary of the product.
- Yelp (YELP) advanced 1.9% after SunTrust analysts upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral."
- Other tech stock winners included Yahoo! which was nearly 4% higher, while Amazon (AMZN) was up 2.9% and Netflix (NFLX) added 3.2%.
- Markets closed lower on Monday, fueled by an ongoing selloff in the technology and biotech sectors.
-- By Andrea Tse, Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York
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