Market Wrap for Monday, March 4: Stocks Post Small Gains

The U.S. stock market was moderately higher on Monday as investors reacted to comments from Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen, who argued the central bank needs to continue with aggressive stimulus.

Currency markets were mostly quiet on the day with both the euro and Japanese yen remaining relatively flat versus the greenback. Volume was light as it was a quiet start to the trading week.

Major Averages

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 38 points, or 0.27 percent, to 14,128.

The S&P 500 added 7 points, or 0.46 percent, to 1,525.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 12 points, or 0.39 percent, to 3,182.


Crude oil traded lower on Monday despite a higher stock market. In afternoon trade, NYMEX crude futures had fallen 0.77 percent to $89.97. Brent crude contracts lost 0.34 percent to $110.00. Natural gas, however, climbed on the day, adding better than 2 percent to $3.53.

Precious metals were close to unchanged on Monday afternoon. COMEX gold futures had lost around 0.04 percent while silver was up by 0.16 percent to $28.54.

In the agricultural complex, corn lost around 0.74 percent while wheat fell 2.50 percent. Most of the other grains traded higher on the day. Significant movers in soft commodities included coffee, which rose 2.30 percent, and orange juice concentrate, which was up 2.50 percent.


Late in the equity trading session, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was down 0.46 percent to $118.34. Yields rose on the day.

The 2-Year Note yield was unchanged at 0.23 percent, but the 5-Year Note yield rose two basis points to 0.76 percent. The yield on the 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond added three basis points to 1.88 percent and 3.09 percent, respectively.


The U.S. dollar was largely unchanged on the session. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was trading down 0.04 percent late in the day.

The closely watched EUR/USD pair was up 0.04 percent to $1.3023 while the USD/JPY lost 0.18 percent. The British Pound rose 0.63 percent against the greenback on the session.

Volatility and Volume

The VIX fell sharply on Monday as investors' expectations for volatility plunged despite only a small market rally. The VIX closed down around 7 percent to 14.28.

Volume was light as only 81 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 135 million.

Stock Movers

MBIA (NYSE:MBI) jumped more than 22 percent on Monday after a New York state judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by banks contesting its 2009 restructuring.

Radian Group (NYSE:RDN) climbed more than 7 percent on the session. Radian is a credit enhancement company with a focus on domestic, first-lien mortgage insurance.

MGIC Investment (NYSE:MTG) rose around 13 percent on Monday in the wake of the MBIA lawsuit decision.

Outdoor Channel Holdings (NASDAQ:OUTD) climbed more than 14 percent after receiving a buyout offer from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.

Boyd Gaming (NYSE:BYD) jumped after the company agreed to sell its Echelon site on the Las Vegas Strip to Malaysian gambling company Genting Bhd. Boyd also reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings results. The stock was last up more than 11 percent.

Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) climbed better than 3 percent after the stock was upgraded at Barclays.

Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) jumped around 7 percent after the company's quarterly earnings results.

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