U.S. stocks rallied to start the 4-day trading week. The Dow jumped 260 points on Monday and the S&P closed 1 percent higher, thanks to encouraging talk of stimulus in Asia. Personal income in February was in-line with market consensus, posting a gain of 0.4 percent; Consumer spending picked up 0.1 percent. Pending homes sales jumped 3.1 percent, driven primarily by sales in the West and Midwest regions. But the party was over on Tuesday as the Dow dropped triple digits, with healthcare sector falling the most in the final trading day in the first quarter. Investors are realizing that the economic conditions are challenging. It’s hard to see how the U.S. is going to raise interest rates in the face of global weakness. On Wednesday markets spent a second day in the red; ISM for March posted 51.5, the lowest level on this indicator since last May. Construction spending fell 0.1 percent in February, for a second straight month of decline. March ADP Employment Report came in very soft at 189,000, below forecasts. Crude oil climbed back to $50 a barrel, as negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are heading into double overtime. Negotiators missed a deadline on Iran’s nuclear talks that might bring more supply to the market. Oil prices rallied for the first time in four days following a weekly U.S. inventory report that turned out to be less than some had feared. On Thursday stocks traded higher; Initial jobless claims fell very sharply, down 20,000 to 268,000. Factory orders showed an increase of 0.2 percent. The U.S. trade balance for February sharply narrowed on lower oil prices.
Now some company highlights:
GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) the web hosting service best known for its outrageous TV ads, went public on Wednesday with drastically different views for the company’s prospects. But investors had to be pretty happy with how the stocks performed on the first day: it popped over 30% in its debut on the NYSE. But there are still doubters, much of the analysis talked about how GoDaddy’s IPO went to pay off some of the company’s mounting debt.
UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) will spend $12 billion to buy a pharmacy benefits firm Catamaran, saying it is trying to control the rising costs of prescription drugs. UnitedHealth plans to merge Catamaran to fulfill more than one billion prescriptions. The deal will help the company increase its profits about 5% in 2016.
It took eight months after first asking, but Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) finally got the go-ahead from the FAA to begin the research of their Prime Air program. But the e-commerce giant still has a long way to go before it can use the friendly skies to deliver goods, while facing concerns over public safety and privacy.