Benchmark Indices Remain Flat as Nasdaq Jumps to Open Week of Trading

Michael Teague  |

Stocks mostly dawdled in Tuesday trading, though the Nasdaq managed to add two-thirds of a percent by the closing bell, as investors had only the anemic reading from the Empire State Manufacturing Survey to go off of in terms of economic data. The week of trading thus commenced after the President’s Day holiday most indecisively, as the last two weeks of relative gains have managed to recuperate much of January’s losses.

●     Standard & Poor’s 500: +0.12 percent to 1,840.76

●     Dow Jones Industrial Average: -0.15 percent to 16,130.40

●     Nasdaq: +0.68 percent to 4,272.78

●     Jacob Harper imagines a world in which Tesla’s (TSLA) valuation is justified.

●     George Brooks wonders if the market is taking a breather, or whether investors can expect more gains.

●     An exclusive interview withthe imperator of the junior exploration space Rick Rule, who would like to remind readers of Equities.com the sector’s “For Sale!” sign is still out.

●     Casey Research sat down with precious metals guru James Turk to talk about the next catalyst for gold prices.

●     Senior Editor Joel Anderson spoke with Lend Academy founder Peter Renton to get his thoughts about the future of the peer-to-peer lending industry.

●     Joel also wrote an informative piece explaining the basics of mutual funds.

●     Senior Editors Michael Teague on six compelling basic materials stocks on the S&P 500, and Jacob Harper on five small Midwestern banks.

One of the bigger stories on the S&P on Tuesday was Coca-Cola (KO) , whose shares were off by nearly four percent after the world’s most recognizable brand announced $1 billion in spending cuts after the company reported earnings for the recently-ended quarter that proved to be a huge disappointment to investors, particularly in terms of net income. Meanwhile, solar panel manufacturer First Solar (FSLR) had gained 7 percent by the closing bell.

Coca-Cola was also the Dow’s main drag, but had help from Procter & Gamble (PG) , as well as telecom giants Verizon Communications (VZ) and AT&T (T) , all of which were off over one percent as well. On the brighter side of the benchmark index, financials were the day’s best performers, with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) up just over half of a percent.

Healthcare turned out to be a big story on the Nasdaq, with shares for Prana Biotechnology (PRAN) soaring nearly 40 percent after the company released potentially promising results from its Phase II trials of an Alzheimer’s treatment currently in its pipeline. For more on this perhaps misleading release of information, please see Senior Editor Joel Anderson’s write up on the heavy trading activity. Other biotech stocks gained on the day as well, including Gilead Sciences (GILD) and Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) .

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