Huge week for economic news ahead

S&P 500 (Figure 2)

In other news, Chicago's purchasing managers index fell from 70.6 in March to 67.6 in April. This was lower than anticipated. Consumer sentiment, however, rose from 67.5 in March to 69.8 in April according to the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index. This final reading for April was revised higher from 69.6.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) ended the day a gain of 47.23 points, or 0.37%, and closed at 12,810.54 on Friday. Over half of the Dow's thirty index components posted a gain. They were led by Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) (+2.46%), Boeing (BA) (+1.57%), Intel (INTC) (+1.54%), and Cisco Systems (CSCO) (+1.33%). Caterpillar's gains can be attributed to an unexpected jump in first-quarter profits and a boost in its profit target for 2011, announced Friday morning. The weakest performers were Microsoft (MSFT) (-2.96%), Verizon (VZ) (-1.28%), and Bank of America (BAC) (-1.13%). Microsoft's losses followed disappointing sales for its Windows platforms. The Dow ended the week higher by 2.44% and 4% on the month.

Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)


The S&P 500 ($SPX) rose 3.13 points, or 0.23%, and closed at 1,363.61. The strongest percentage performer in the index on Friday was Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT) (+12.04%). Occidental Pete Corp. (OXY) (+8.71%), Motorola Mobility Holdings (MMI) (+8.63%), and Cerner Corp. (CERN) (+7.22%) rounded off the top four gainers. The weakest percentage performers were Monster Worldwide (MWW) (-7.76%), VF Corp. (VFC) (-7.45%), Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI) (-6.19%), and Coventry Health Care (CVH) (-6.08%). The S&P 500 ended the week higher by 1.96% and 2.9% for the month.

The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session higher by 1.01 points, or 0.04%, on Friday and it closed at 2,873.54. The strongest performer in the Nasdaq-100 was Cerner Corp. (CERN) (+7.22%). The other top gainers included Liberty Media Corp. (LINTA) (+4.11%), NVIDIA (NVDA) (+2.51%), and Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) (+2.03%). Research In Motion (RIMM) stunned investors with a 14.03% loss after shifting its previous month's guidance to reflect a slowdown in recent shipments of its BlackBerry smartphones. New products later in the year are expected to once again boost sales, but the market reacted with skepticism. Other top decliners in the Nasdaq-100 were Warner Chilcott (WCRX) (-4.16%), Flextronics (FLEX) (-3.19%), and Microsoft (MSFT) (-2.96%). The Nasdaq Composite ended the week higher by 1.89% and ended the month with a 3.3% gain.

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