Updated from 12:02 p.m. EDT
This Month Is Good After All
At 5:50 p.m. EDT
How do you like them apples? The
got the second quarter started in fine style, rising 152.68 points, or 2%, to 7761.60 Wednesday.
If the quarter ended right now, the Dow would be up 2%. That's going to have count as my April Fools' Day humor, because it's too late in the day to gather the energy for anything better.
Now let's be serious. The index saw 27 of its 30 components rise, while one,
, was unchanged.
was the top percentage gainer, climbing 7.4% to $14.44.
were each up more than 5%.
overcame unfavorable commentary from an analyst to advance almost that much.
The only laggards were two manufacturers --
, again, and
. In both cases, though, the losses were minimal. GM slipped 1 cent to $1.93, and Boeing shed 14 cents to $35.44.
On Thursday, remember to be on the lookout for any developments coming out of the
meeting that will deal with mark-to-market guidelines. The banks are really hoping to see this go in their favor, and it could have a considerable impact on earnings. Stay tuned.
Not Great, but Not Terrible
At 11:40 am. EDT
I've been trying to come up with a clever comment about who the April Fools' Day joke is on, but it's just not happening. So I'll stick to the facts.
Some of the day's economic data wasn't as horrendous as traders had feared, and we've got a rally going. The Dow, lower by more than 100 points shortly after the open, was recently up 57 points.
on employment was nothing to cheer, though it's awfully hard to find anyone these days with anything positive to say about the job market. We know the government's numbers on Friday are going to be bad, it's just a question of magnitude at this point. The other figures on housing and manufacturing were a little more encouraging, and that helped bring in some buyers.
Of the Dow's 30 components, nine were falling and the other 21 were advancing. Both oil stocks,
, were lagging.
was off 1.3% after cautious
, which briefly and inexplicably edged ahead in the premarket, was the worst performer on a percentage basis, declining 7.7% to $1.79. A bit later, the
will post its March sales along with the rest of the sector. Should be ugly.
Financials improved significantly from their early levels.
was pacing the gainers with a 6.5% increase to $2.69.
Bank of America
were up 4%.
And I still have four hours to come up with a joke.
Let's Go Back to Last Month
At 9:10 a.m. EDT
Looks like we could be in for a less than inspiring start to the second quarter. Well, at least we'll always have
Futures on the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
are suggesting a lower open for the index as April and a new quarter arrive. Recently, they were down 89 points at 7473.
, after two days that wiped out more than 40% of its market cap, was up 2 cents at $1.96. Makes sense. Bankruptcy speculation is continuing to build. Why not bid up the shares?
Two other stocks worth watching as the session progresses will be
. The planemaker was downgraded at Wachovia, while the chemicals company had its price target and estimates lowered at Jefferies. Neither stock was trading in the premarket, but those comments could weigh on the shares.
Financials might also be a drag --
Bank of America
were all losing ground in the early going.