A manufacturing report shows improvement. Pending home sales rise for the 4th month. Ford sales decline.

By Charley Blaine Jul 1, 2009 3:01PM

Charley Blaine

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET 

 

Stocks were rallying this afternoon, thanks to solid gains in technology, food and consumer staples shares.

 

But the major indexes were off their highs, and  volume was light ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend. In addition, many investors were waiting for Thursday's unemployment and payrolls report.

 

Investors cheered good reports on manufacturing and housing and seemed happy that auto sales were not as bad as expected.

 

At 3:20 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 75 points, or 0.9%, to 8,522. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had added 15 points, or 0.8%, to 1,850, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) had gained 6 points, or 0.7%, to 926.

 

The Dow had been up as many as 133 points in the morning.

 

Food stocks rose sharply after General Mills (GIS) reported better-than-expected results and issued strong guidance for 2010.

 

Kraft (KFT) was the top performer among the 30 Dow stocks, up 5.4% to $26.70.

 

The second quarter was a stellar one for stocks. The S&P 500 ended the quarter with a 15.2% gain -- its best performance since the fourth quarter of 1998.

 

The Dow gained 11% in the quarter, its best quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2003, and the Nasdaq surged 20.1%, also the best quarterly performance since the 2003 second quarter.

 

"We’re pretty upbeat on the market," David Katz, chief investment officer at Matrix Asset Advisors, told Bloomberg Radio. "We're fairly comfortable with this coming earnings season and think companies are going to do OK."

 

The stock surges on the news.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 1, 2009 11:26AM

Shares of truck maker Oshkosh (OSK) soared $4.05, or 27.9%, to $18.59 this afternoon after the Pentagon said late Tuesday that Oshkosh won a $1.06 billion contract from the Defense Department to make bomb-resistant vehicles for the Army.

 

It was the biggest gain for the stock in a whopping 23 years.

 

Oshkosh said the contract is for 2,244 M-ATV vehicles -- mine-resistant armored-protected all-terrain vehicles, which are designed for the extreme mobility and durability the Army needs to protect soldiers from roadside bombs in Afghanistan. Oshkosh said it began production on its manufacturing line a few weeks ago.

 

A manufacturing report shows improvement. Pending home sales rise for the 4th month. Ford sales decline.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 1, 2009 10:46AM

Elizabeth StrottThe bulls were out in force today, the first day of the third quarter and the second half of the year.

 

Investors cheered good reports on manufacturing and housing.

 

At 1:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 106 points, or 1.3%, to 8,555. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had added 23 points, or 1.2%, to 1,858, and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) had gained 10 points, or 1.1%, to 929.

 

The second quarter was a stellar one for stocks. The S&P 500 ended the second quarter with a 15.2% gain -- its best performance since the fourth quarter of 1998. The Dow gained 11% in the quarter, its best quarterly increase since the second quarter of 2003, and the Nasdaq surged 20.1% last quarter.

 

Shares of the biotech plunge on the outlook.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 1, 2009 8:05AM

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

 

Myriad Genetics (MYGN) late Tuesday warned that total molecular diagnostic revenue, which makes up most of the company's revenue, will be about $86 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, below Wall Street's estimate of $92 million.

 

The company also said molecular diagnostic revenue for its full fiscal year, which ended Tuesday, will be about $326 million, down from its previous forecast of about $330 million and short of analysts' expectations for $336.8 million.

 

The nation's biggest newspaper company is hit by slumping ad sales.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 1, 2009 7:59AM

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

 

Gannett (GCI) is cutting more of its staff, according to The Wall Street Journal.

 

The paper late Tuesday said Gannett, which owns more than 80 daily newspapers, will eliminate 1,000 to 2,000 jobs as the company faces further declines in advertising sales. The cuts will come from the U.S. Community Publishing division, the paper reported, citing a person close to the situation.

 

The company says its drug was not effective enough.

By Elizabeth Strott Jul 1, 2009 7:59AM

Updated at 1:15 pm ET

 

Drugs © Sean Justice/Corbis Drug giant Pfizer (PFE) late Tuesday said it is discontinuing a late-stage trial of its drug Sutent for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.

 

The trial involved adding Sutent to the chemotherapy drug Folfiri for patients with advanced colon cancer. Pfizer said it decided to discontinue the trial because it was unlikely Sutent would show a statistically significant improvement over patients taking Folfiri alone. 

 

A new report shows that companies are planning fewer layoffs.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 1, 2009 7:50AM

TheStreet.com

By Elizabeth Trotta, TheStreet.com

 

(Updated at 10:20 ET)

 

Stocks in New York started the second half of the year with modest gains after a drop in planned layoffs in the U.S. helped offset bigger-than-expected job losses in June.

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 86.1 points to 8533, while the S&P 500 Index added 9.3 points to 929. The Nasdaq Composite tacked on almost 20 points, rising to 1855.

 

Industrial and energy stocks were among those leading the Dow, with Alcoa, Caterpillar, Chevron and Exxon Mobil gaining more than 1%.

 

American companies cut 473,000 jobs in June, worse than the 394,000 expected, according to ADP’s report on private sector unemployment. However, job losses were down from a revised 485,000 in May and also marked the lowest number of estimated jobs lost since October. Government data scheduled for Thursday is expected to show unemployment rose to 9.6%.

 

Helping to offset the greater-than-expected private sector job losses, outplacement consultant Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported that planned layoffs at U.S. firms fell 33% in June from May, marking the fifth consecutive month planned headcount reductions have declined.

 

The major indices ended the second quarter with double-digit gains that marked the best quarterly improvement in years. Nonetheless, Tuesday's session -- the last for the quarter and June -- ended on a dim note as stocks sank on an unexpected drop in consumer confidence.

 

 

Stocks had a great 2nd quarter, especially banks and tech companies. For the market to move higher requires a real economic recovery.

By Charley Blaine Jun 30, 2009 8:11PM

Charley BlaineThere are two ways to look at what happened to stocks in the second quarter.

 

Their gains were part of an enormous relief rally -- relief that the global financial system survived the panic that erupted when investment bank Lehman Bros. collapsed.

 

The other explanation is simple. Stocks had become so outrageously cheap that they had to go up.

 

Either way, the rally that erupted on March 9 in the United States was impressive, with the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) up 11% in the quarter and 29% from March 9.

 

But the easy money has been made. Going forward will be tougher. Here's why.

 

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