The U.S. stock market staged a moderate rally on Tuesday as Alcoa (NYSE:AA) kicked off earnings season with its fiscal Q1 report after the closing bell on Monday.
The euro climbed along with stocks and commodity prices were also largely higher as the greenback fell. The top sector on the session was solar stocks after First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) soared on the back of better than expected guidance for the fiscal year.
In other news, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) plunged around 12 percent after the company fired its CEO Ron Johnson and replaced him with former CEO Mike Ullman.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 14,673.
The S&P 500 added a little less than 6 points, or 0.35 percent, to finish at 1,569.
The Nasdaq Composite added a little less than 16 points, or 0.48 percent, to 3,238.
Wholesale inventories fell 0.3 percent in February after increasing 0.8 percent for January. This compared to consensus expectations which called for an increase in wholesale inventories of 0.5 percent for the month. The decline in wholesale inventories was likely the result of strong sales growth in the month, with wholesale sales surging 1.7 percent in February after falling 0.8 percent in January.
A rising stock market helped lift energy prices on Tuesday. Late in the day, NYMEX crude futures had risen around 0.87 percent and were trading at $94.19. Brent crude futures climbed 1.61 percent to $106.35 on the day. Natural gas, however, was trading down 1.35 percent Tuesday afternoon to $4.03.
Precious metals also climbed on brisk risk appetite on Tuesday. Near the close of equities, COMEX gold futures were trading up 0.87 percent to $1,586.00. Silver futures had added almost 3 percent to $27.91. Copper notched a gain of better than 2 percent on the session.
Grain prices rose across the board on the day with the exception of wheat which was last trading down around 0.53 percent. Corn futures added 1.70 percent on the session. Movers in soft commodities included cocoa, which climbed better than 1 percent, and orange juice concentrate futures, which rose around 1.50 percent.
Bonds fell on Tuesday as the stock market rose. Near the close of equities, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was down around 0.37 percent to $121.43. The fall in prices caused yields at the long-end of the curve to rise.
The yield on the 2-Year Note was unchanged at 0.23 percent, while the yield on the 5-Year Note fell one basis point to 0.70 percent. The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond yields rose one and two basis points to 1.75 percent and 2.94 percent, respectively.
A lower U.S. dollar helped to spur risk appetite on the session. Near the close of equities, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was down around 0.53 percent to $22.40.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair jumped 0.73 percent to $1.3099 on Tuesday. The Japanese yen which has been plummeting versus the greenback was largely unchanged on the session. Other movers included the GBP/USD and the AUD/USD which rose 0.53 percent and 0.88 percent, respectively.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX fell slightly on the session as stocks recorded another rally. The widely watched measure of market fear declined 1.59 percent to 12.98 on the day.
Volume was light again, with only around 88 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares trading hands compared to a 3-month daily average of just under 124 million.
Shares of heavily shorted solar name First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) were trading up more than 47 percent heading into the closing bell after the company released much better than expected guidance for the fiscal year. The huge gains in the name would appear to be partially due to a short-squeeze.
J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) had plunged more than 12 percent late in the day after the company announced the firing of CEO Ron Johnson and the hiring of former CEO Mike Ullman.
Shares of Allied Nevada Gold (NYSE:ANV) were up around 30 percent near the close after it reiterated its production forecast. The stock had been under heavy selling pressure in recent months.
Solar company SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) surged around 18 percent on the session in the wake of bullish guidance from competitor First Solar.
JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) had surged almost 19 percent near the close also in the wake of the huge move in First Solar after the company issued bullish fiscal year guidance.
Sarepta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:SRPT) had climbed around 13 percent heading into Tuesday's close after a research abstract containing GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) drisapersen study results was released. The data had favorable implications for Sarepta's competing Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug eteplirsen.
Shares of FTI Consulting (NYSE:FCN) were down around 7 percent near the closing bell, although the reason for the move in the name was not immediately clear.
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