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Midday Market Update

Stocks Rise; S&P 500 Rises Above All-Time Closing High


U.S. Market    
Stocks rose this morning after economic data, putting the S&P 500 index on track for a new closing high.

Fourth-quarter GDP was revised up to 0.4% growth from the last estimate of 0.1% growth. Economists had expected a slightly larger revision. The change was driven mostly by an upward revision to businesses fixed investment due to better-than-expected levels of construction spending. 

Initial unemployment claims rose a larger-than-expected 16,000 to 357,000 last week. The less volatile four-week moving average was up 2,250 to 343,000. Claims are still at a level consistent with continued job growth. 

The Chicago Business Barometer fell in March to 52.4 from 56.8 in the previous month, indicating a slower growth rate for Midwest manufacturing. A 12% decline in the new orders index was the biggest driver of the fall.

At midday the NasdaqS&P 500  and Dow were up 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3% respectively.

Stocks on the Move
 BlackBerry's (BBRY) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report  offered some bright spots as the company launched its BlackBerry 10 operating system and flagship Z10 smartphone this quarter. BlackBerry shipped 5 million older BB7 models and 1 million Z10s in the February quarter, down from 6.9 million total sold in the November quarter. We continue to believe that the Q10 will eventually emerge as the more popular BB10 model, and May's unit sales might be an important jumping-off point for BlackBerry's future growth. The gross margin was 40%, up from 30% in November, thanks to the richer product mix including higher-priced Z10 sales. Shares were up 3% on the report. 

Foreign Markets
European shares moved higher today. In late trading, Germany’s DAX, FTSE 100 and Paris CAC were up 0.3%, 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.

Asian markets lost ground. The Shanghai Composite sank 2.8%, the Nikkei 225 was off 1.3% while the Hang Seng was down 0.7%. 

Jeremy Glaser does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.