Markets closed up on Wall Street: DJI +1.5% SP500 +1.5% Nasdaq +1.83% Gold +0.73% Oil +1.1%.
Looks like the infatuation with Japan (NYSE:EWJ) and Libya has started to break. Ah … how quickly we start to move on. Today a top Nuclear Regulatory Commission official said Japan is “on the verge of stabilizing.” In the Middle East, the coalition forces have started to quell Gaddafi with air strikes and a no-fly zone. So, Wall Street took some time to bathe in its love for deals. Markets opened higher, reclaimed the highly watched Dow 12,000 (NYSE:DIA) mark, and finished strong.
Today’s markets rallied because:
1) AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile got engaged. The telecom giant is looking to expand it’s customer base, offer Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) white hot iPhone to more customers, and play defense in a consolidating sector. M&A of this stature reflects a lot more executive confidence than in years past — and markets love it. In other mergers and acquisitions new, financial services company Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW) gobbled up OptionsXpress (NASDAQ:OXPS). The move comes fairly late after TD Ameritrade’s (NASDAQ:AMTD) acquisition of another popular options platform Think or Swim. Don’t Miss: DONE DEAL! Mergers and Acquisitions of the Week.
2) Oil (NYSE:USO) and Gold (NYSE:GLD) stepped back in the driver’s seat even while markets rallied. Oil closed the day up 1% to $102.20 while Gold bugs gained another $10 with the safe haven metal closing at $1,426.20. This is a sign investors are still looking for a hedge against geo-political risk and natural disasters. Commodities (NYSE:DBC) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) also had a nice day, taking back some gains lost on fears of a global slowdown after Japan’s disaster.
3) Financials has some meaningful announcements. Today supermarket banks (NYSE:XLF) Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) dragged the sector down. Citigroup said it will perform a 1 for 10 reverse stock split, while Bank of America is leaving investors in the dark about a near term dividend increase. Also, today the US Supreme Court told the Federal Reserve it must disclose details of emergency loans it made to banks in 2008. Read a complete breakdown of the Fed allowing a reinstatement of bank dividends in this post “Banks to Shareholders: Here’s Your Dividends Back“.
Now that you’re in the know, enjoy a night off from the NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament!