Daily Market Recap

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The S&P 500 climbed by 0.78% today and the Dow rose by 0.77%. Even though markets continue to run higher, defensive groups like healthcare, utilities, and staples all outperformed today. Several large pharmaceutical stocks, soft drink stocks, and utilities moved to new highs. Financial, industrial, and tech stocks lagged the overall market.

Railroads went back into a leadership position today. The railroads exposed to crude especially rallied. The crude by rail theme continues to play out. As domestic shipments of oil rise, the rails benefit.

The continued rise in defensive issues has been spurred by the Cyprus issue. Investors searching for strong total return names continue to bid up stocks like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Coca-Cola, and AT&T. Several utility stocks moved to new 52-week highs today also.

Commodities were mixed with crude, wheat, and natural gas trading ahead of the tape. Precious metals were lower on the day. Gold lost 0.33% and silver was down a like amount. Natural gas moved sharply higher closing up 2.87% and crude closed higher by 1.57%.

New single-family home sales declined by 4.6% on a seasonally adjusted rate in the month of February. This drop comes on the heels of a 13.1% rise the prior month. The January Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index rose 8.1% after posting gains of 6.8% the prior month. The increase in prices was ahead of expectations.

Energy stocks traded slightly ahead of the tape. Oil services stocks, integrated energy companies, and drillers performed well. Companies that focus on exploration and production of natural gas outperformed the sector.

In media, the larger lower beta stocks like Disney and Time Warner outperformed. Netflix continued to work higher after it received an analyst upgrade. Telecom names continued to outperform as Verizon continued to hit new highs.

Healthcare outperformed the S&P 500 by 0.50%. Drug stores and managed care stocks led the way higher. Healthcare stalwarts, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Merck, and Eli Lilly were all up more than 1% on the day.

Source: PFS Group

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