Netflix Beats Expectations and Home Sales Slip: Market Recap

The markets closed up on Monday, although the Dow spent most of the morning in negative territory. Earnings continue to be a main driver as the season continues, but housing data stole the spotlight today.

DJIA: +0.14% to 14,567.20 S&P 500: +0.47% to 1,562.50 NASDAQ: +0.86% to 3,233.55
Gold: +$29.90 to $1,425.50 per ounce Oil: +1.19% to $89.32 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.010 points to 1.695%

Total existing home sales — defined as completed transactions involving single-family homes, town homes, condominiums, and co-ops — declined 0.6 percent on the month to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.92 million in March. February’s annualized rate was downwardly revised to 4.95 million. That said, March’s rate was 10.3 percent higher than the year-ago period. Sales have no been above year-ago levels for 21 consecutive months… (Read more.)

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index, a monthly gauge designed to measure overall economic activity and related inflationary pressure, fell to -0.23 in March. A negative reading like this indicates that national economic activity has fallen below its historic trend. March’s results helped pull the three-month average down from 0.12 to -0.01… (Read more.)

Italian lawmakers elected President Giorgio Napolitano to a second term in office on Saturday. Markets reacted favorably with Milan’s FTSE MIB index climbing as much as 1.9 percent. Observers are hopeful that President Napolitano will be able to preside over a broadly-based coalition government that will heal Italy’s fractious parliament. His election was supported by both the main center-left and center-right parties.

Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) closed the day up 2.83 percent, despite a disappointing first-quarter report. Earnings fell 44.7 percent to $1.31 per share, below estimates for $1.40. Revenue fell 17.3 percent to $13.21 billion, below estimates for $13.7 billion. The company also revised its 2013 outlook “to reflect sales and revenues in a range of $57 to $61 billion, with profit per share of about $7.00 at the middle of the sales and revenues outlook range. The previous outlook for 2013 sales and revenues was a range of $60 to $68 billion and profit per share of $7.00 to $9.00.” (Read more.)

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Elan Corp. (NYSE:ELN) has unanimously rejected the $11.25 per-share acquisition offer submitted by Royalty Pharma. Chairman Robert Ingram commented that the offer “grossly undervalues Elan’s current business platform and our future prospects.” Shares closed the day up 0.59 percent.

Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) closed the day up 5.6 percent. The company reported that revenue climbed 1.54 percent on the year to $6.97 billion, ahead of estimates for $6.88 billion. Earnings declined 24.72 percent to $0.67 per share, but still beat the mean analyst estimate of $0.57… (Read more.)

Boeing (NYSE:BA) closed the day down 1.16 percent. The company announced recently that the new battery system for its 787 Dreamliner has been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, and that it has begun the process of installing the new system.

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS)(NASDAQ:NWSA) closed the day up 1.41 percent. The media company announced that it has settled with investors over allegations of ignoring illegal conduct.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) closed the day up 6.73 percent and climbed as much as 24 percent in post-market trading after reporting earnings. Revenue increased 17.7 percent to $1.024 billion, in line with estimates. The company added more than 3 million streaming members, bringing it up to 36 million total.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) closed the day up 3.58 percent. The tech giant surged after activist-investor ValueAct Capital revealed a $2 billion stake in the company, or about 67 million shares.

Don’t Miss: Housing Market Tug Of War: Sales Stall While Prices Climb.