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U.S. Stocks End Mixed After Consumer Sentiment, Personal Spending Data; Hot Stocks: RIMM, SBSA, FINL, TIBX, WMB

 March 30, 2012 04:44 PM

U.S. stocks ended on a mixed note buoyed by stronger-than-forecast consumer sentiment index and personal spending bolstered optimism in the economy.

S&P 500 Index gained 0.37 percent to finish at 1,408.47. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.50 percent to end at 13,212.04. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 3,091.57, down 0.12 percent.

On the economic front, personal spending advanced 0.8 percent in February, the largest gain in seven months. Personal income inched 0.2 percent higher, a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed. Economists had expected income to gain 0.4 percent and spending to advance 0.6 percent. In January, spending increased 0.4 percent higher, while income was flat.

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The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index declined to 62.2 in March from 64 in February. Economists had expected index reading of 63.1.

The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for March advanced to 76.2 from a preliminary reading of 74.3 in mid-March and economists had expected 75. The University of Michigan's inflation expectations for March declined to 3.9% from 4.0% in mid-March.

Hot Stocks Of The Day: RIMM, SBSA, FINL, TIBX, WMB

In corporate news, Research In Motion Ltd. (TSX: RIM.TO) (Nasdaq: RIMM) was in focus following its quarterly report. About 83.15 million shares volume were traded during Friday's regular session. The struggling BlackBerry maker reported lower-than-forecast quarterly results and warned of pressure on revenue and earnings throughout fiscal 2013. Adjusted EPS was 80 cents on revenue of $4.2 billion, trailing consensus of EPS of 81 cents on revenue of $4.54 billion. RIMM shipped around 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones in the quarter.

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Spanish Broadcasting System Inc. (NASDAQ:SBSA) ended 43.31 percent higher at $6.75  after the company's fourth quarter results. Earnings per share grew to $0.51 from $0.12. Revenue rose 9 percent to $38.2 million, while adjusted revenue increased 13 percent.

Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) ended 16.26 percent lower at $21.22. The mall-based specialty retailer forecast a 30 percent drop in first-quarter earnings. Wall Street projections called in for a 19 percent EPS growth. For the year ending March 2, 2013, the company expects EPS to grow in the mid-single digits, while analysts' expect a growth of 12.4 percent.

Tibco Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TIBX) closed 6.01 percent lower at $30.50, following better-than-expected quarterly numbers. First-quarter non-GAAP earnings were 20 cents per share on revenue of $225.7 million.

Williams Companies Inc. (NYSE: WMB) priced a public offering of 26 million shares at $30.59 a piece, matching the stock's closing price on Thursday.

Global Markets:

The European markets finished higher after euro zone finance ministers agreed on a temporary boost of the region's bailout funds to prevent the possible spillover of the debt crisis, with Germany's DAX gaining 1.04 percent to end at 6,946.83. France's CAC40 rose 1.26 percent to finish at 3,423.81. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.46 percent to close at 5,768.45.

Asia markets closed mixed. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.47 percent to end at $2,262.79. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.26 percent to close at 20,555.60. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.31 percent to end at 10,083.60. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,404.20, up 2.03 percent.

Market Scan:

Crude oil futures rose 0.39 percent to $103.18 per barrel, and natural gas price declined 1.26 percent to $2.12 per million metric British thermal units. Gold rallied 0.91 percent to $1,667.20 per ounce, and silver rose 2.98 percent to $32.24 per ounce.

In the currency market, the euro advanced 0.27 percent against the U.S. dollar to $1.3337. The British pound gained 0.29 percent against the greenback to 1.5997, while the dollar traded 0.44 percent higher against the Japanese yen to 82.7850.



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