Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Deals try to boost US Market but fail

US Market posted losses today, Monday, 28 April, 2008 with only the Nasdaq managing to eke out little gains. There were no important economic reports for the day. Merger related news and earning news dominated the headlines for the day. Five economic sectors finished the session in the green. Financial, technology, energy, materials, and utilities sectors ended in the red.

It was quite a lackluster day in the market today. Among major earning reports, Humana and Sysco topped expectations, while Verizon reported in-line earnings.

The market traded flat for entire day today. At the end, The Dow Jones industrial Average ended with a loss of 20 points at 12,871.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index, finished higher by 1.5 points at 2,424.4. S&P 500 finished lower by 1.4 points at 1,396.37.

Seventeen out of thirty Dow components ended in the red today. AIG, Du Pont and Microsoft were the main Dow laggards. Verizon and General Motors were the top winners.

Among major deal news during the day, privately held snack food company, Mars is going to acquire Chicago-based Wrigley for roughly $23 billion, or $80 per share in cash, representing a 28% premium over Friday`s closing level. Warren Buffet said that Berkshire Hathaway will provide $6.5 billion in financing.

Also, shares of Ford got a lift on word activist investor Kirk Kerkorian`s Tracinda Corp is increasing his 4.7% stake in Ford to 5.7%.

Crude prices closed little higher today after reaching an all time high during intra day trading. Prices rose after BP shut a North Sea pipeline and a strike and rebel attacks in Nigeria disrupted production. Crude oil futures also stemmed from a strike called at a refinery in Scotland, forcing a key pipeline to be closed. The weaker dollar also spurted up crude prices.

Crude-oil futures for light sweet crude for June delivery closed at $118.75/barrel (higher by $0.23/barrel or 0.2%) on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched an all time high of $119.93 during intra day trading.

BP closed the Forties Pipeline System, carrying 40% of the U.K.`s oil production, after a strike at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland cut power supplies. Further, a walkout by Exxon Mobil workers entered a fifth day in Nigeria, where production has dropped substantially in the last couple of days.

In the currency market today, the dollar fell slightly supporting gold`s gains, as traders weighed the odds of the Federal Reserve further reducing benchmark U.S. interest rates. The dollar index, which tracks the value of the greenback against a basket of other currencies, fell 0.1% to 72.61.

For tomorrow, the only item on the economic calendar is the Conference Board`s consumer confidence index for April. Other than that, there will be a number of earning reports on the dock.

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