The U.S. stock market surged on Tuesday, but the session was not without drama for investors.
During afternoon trade, the major averages lost nearly all of their gains very briefly after a tweet from the AP said that there had been an explosion at the White House and that the President had been injured.
The report was erroneous and the AP later said that its Twitter feed had been hacked. It appears that the split-second heavy selling was driven by news reading algorithms, and the stock market recovered the losses within a matter of minutes.
In other news, sales of new homes for the month of March came in slightly ahead of expectations and above levels recorded for February. At the close, all of the major averages had recorded gains in excess of 1 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152 points, or 1.05 percent, to 14,719.
The S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) added 16 points, or 1.04 percent, to 1,579.
The Nasdaq Composite climbed 36 points, or 1.11 percent, to close the day at 3,269.
New Home Sales
New home sales rose 1.7 percent for the month of March to 417,000 units. This compared to new home sales of 411,000 for February, but is decline from the peak level of 445,000 in January. The March figures came in slightly higher than consensus estimates which pegged new home sales at 415,000 for March.
Crude oil prices were mixed around the unchanged mark on Tuesday. At last check, NYMEX crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, had risen 0.18 percent and were trading at $89.35. Brent futures were down 0.20 percent heading into the closing bell for equities at $100.19. Natural gas lost roughly 0.7 percent to $4.24.
Precious metals were lower on the day, with silver breaking the $23 level. In late trade, COMEX gold futures had shed 0.65 percent to $1,411.90. Silver futures were down a little less than 2 percent to $22.96. Copper, which has also been under significant pressure, lost 1.40 percent on Tuesday.
Despite a sharp rally for stocks, the grain complex was mostly lower. Corn futures were last trading down 1.52 percent while wheat had lost 1 percent on the day. The largest mover in soft commodities was coffee, which lost nearly 4 percent. Cocoa futures climbed around 0.75 percent while cotton fell better than 1.20 percent.
Heading into the closing bell, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) had lost 0.34 percent to $122.50 as investors moved money into equities. Yields moved higher on the session with the exception of the 2-Year Note yield which was unchanged at 0.23 percent.
The 5-Year Note yield rose one basis point to 0.70 percent. Both the 10-Year Note yield and the 30-Year Bond yield also added one basis point to 1.70 percent and 2.89 percent, respectively.
The U.S. dollar recorded strong gains on Tuesday along with the stock market. Near the close, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, had gained 0.44 percent to $22.59.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair fell 0.52 percent, piercing the $1.30 level to the downside to $1.2991. There was little volatility in other notable currency pairs, with the biggest mover being the AUD/USD, which fell 0.14 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX lost roughly 6 percent on the day to 13.50. Investors have been shrugging off last week's losses on Monday and Tuesday, sending volatility expectations lower.
Volume was heavier than normal on Tuesday as the mini flash-crash triggered a spike in trading activity. Around 157 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of just under 129 million.
Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares continued their sharp rise on Tuesday after the company released better than expected financial results for the fiscal first-quarter. The stock had gained more than 25 percent near the close.
Caesars Entertainment (NYSE:CZR) hit an all-time high on Tuesday after the casino operator announced it was splitting itself into two separate companies with financing from Apollo Global Management and TPG Capital. The stock was last trading up more than 25 percent.
Veeco Instruments (NASDAQ:VECO) had climbed almost 17 percent on Tuesday after the company released better than expected financial results for its fiscal first-quater.
Chip-maker Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARMH) rose around 15 percent on the session after the company's first-quarter earnings release.
Shares of Sanmina Corp. (NASDAQ:SANM) jumped around 15 percent Tuesday on the back of second-quarter financial results which topped Wall Street estimates.
II-VI (NASDAQ:IIVI), a high technology materials manufacturer, lost roughly 12 percent after releasing disappointing second-quarter results.
Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN) surged more than 13 percent after the company's first-quarter earnings results.
Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IRWD) notched a loss of more than 6 percent after the company posed a wider first-quarter loss on a steep climb in operating expenses.
Lexmark International (NYSE:LXK) rose 8 percent on Tuesday despite the company reporting a 43 percent in first-quarter earnings.
Shares of micro-cap stock Memsic (NASDAQ:MEMS) jumped around 50 percent on the session after the company agreed to be acquired by a Chinese private equity firm.
United Stationers (NASDAQ:USTR) was one of the biggest losers on the Nasdaq after the company posted a lower Q1 profit. The stock lost a little less than 8 percent on the day.
Rent-A-Center (NASDAQ:RCII) fell around 6 percent on the day after reporting an 11 percent decline in net income for the company's fiscal first-quarter.
STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) jumped better than 9 percent after reporting a narrower loss for its fiscal first-quarter.
Ryder System (NYSE:R) shed around 7 percent after the company's fiscal first-quarter revenues missed Wall Street expectations.
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