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Markets & Finance

Stocks Close Mixed


Major stock indexes closed mixed Monday. Gains in technology and telecom groups lifted the Nasdaq index, while losses in blue chip names including DuPont (DD), Caterpillar (CAT), and Exxon Mobil (XOM) kept the Dow industrials in negative territory, notes Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 3.69 points, or 0.03%, to finish at 10,936.86. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.19 points, or 0.26%, to 1,225.31. The Nasdaq composite index gained 19.6 points, or 0.95%, moving to 2090.21.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, grocery store chain Kroger (KR) is expected to report quarterly earnings.

No major economic reports are due out Tuesday.

Oil prices ended Monday virtually unchanged in price at $53.89 per barrel, on bets that OPEC will leave output quotes unchanged at its Mar. 16 meeting.

In company news Monday, Boeing (BA) announced that its board requested and received the resignation of president and chief executive officer Harry Stonecipher, after discovering a relationship Stonecipher had with a female Boeing executive. The board concluded that the consensual relationship violated the company's code of conduct. Boeing's stock ended the day slightly lower.

Sony (SNE) Monday announced a major management shake up with the appointment of Howard Stringer, head of the company's U.S. operations, as chairman and chief executive. Stringer, an American citizen who was born in Wales, is the first foreigner to lead the Japanese electronics maker. Sony's stock closed 1.8% higher.

In merger news, British military contractor BAE Systems agreed to buy United Defense Industries (UDI), which makes the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, in a deal worth $4 billion. UDI's stock jumped 26%.

Credit card issuer Capital One Financial (COF) announced Sunday that it has agreed to buy Louisiana regional bank Hibernia (HIB) for $5.4 billion in cash and stock as part of a plan to expand into regional banking. Capital One's stock closed 2.8% lower, while Hibernia's finished up 21%.

Cable systems operator Insight Communication's (ICCI) stock closed 22% higher Monday, after its founders and private equity firm the Carlyle Group announced they would offer $650 million to take the company private.

Chip maker Texas Instruments (TXN) rose 1.2% ahead of a mid-quarter earnings update after the close Monday, and Cisco Systems (CSCO) closed up 1% after a Barron's article touted the company's stock as an opportunity for value-oriented investors.

Treasury Market

Long-dated Treasuries finished higher in price Monday. At the end of the day, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was lower at 4.30%.

World Markets

European stock markets closed mixed Monday. In London, the Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 finished down 15.6 points, or 0.31%, to 5,020.70. BAE Systems fell on news of its acquisition of UDI.

Germany's DAX index gained 4.57 points, or 0.10%, to close at 4,428.09.

In Paris, the CAC 40 index gained 13.18 points, or 0.32%, to close at 4,108.00

Asian markets closed higher Monday. Japan's Nikkei-225 index added 52.31 points, or 0.44%, to finish at 11,925.36, its highest close in 10 months. Sony gained 1.5% on news of its management change.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index gained 41.17 points, or 0.30%, to 13,771.95.


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