Stocks Rise Thanks To Last-Hour Push


Stocks ended higher Monday thanks to a last-hour surge as a raft of economic data later this week could show how well the recovery is coming along.

The Nasdaq climbed 0.4%, while the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 each eked out fractional gains. Volume fell on the Nasdaq and the NYSE, according to preliminary data. Those weaker totals compare with Friday’s frantic trade, fueled by the expiration of options.

Apple (AAPL) rose 4% in average volume ahead of the expected unveiling Tuesday of a new iPad model that could be smaller, thinner and less expensive. The stock had fallen to a near-three-month low on Friday, slipping below its latest buy point at 619.97 before rebounding above the entry on Monday. The stock is still 11% off its recent high.

Apple is expected to report Thursday that profit for the first quarter ended in September rose 26% from a year earlier. That would be an improvement from the previous quarter’s 20% increase but well below the high-double-digit and triple-digit gains common over the past few years. (ACOM) jumped 8% on news that it agreed to be bought by a consortium of investors for $1.6 billion. The deal values the provider of family history information at $32 a share, or a 10% premium to Friday’s close.

Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) moved up 2% in solid trade as the stock continues to rebound above its key 50-day and 200-day lines.

On Friday, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock from neutral to buy with a price target of $620 — a 12% premium to the current price — on expectations that Intuitive Surgical’s Da Vinci robotic surgery system will gain U.S. market share.

On the downside, Polaris Industries (PII) fell 3% in above-average turnover. The stock last week hit a new high after the maker of all-terrain vehicles reported stronger-than-expected Q3 earnings. The stock is 10% past a 78.04 buy point from a cup-with-handle base. Its Accumulation-Distribution Rating is a robust A-.

Athletic apparel maker Under Armour (UA) dropped 2% in average action. The company is expected to report Thursday that Q3 profit rose 18% on a 23% rise in revenue.

Ellie Mae (ELLI) sank 6% in heavy trade and fell further below its 50-day moving average. Helped by a rebound in the housing market, the provider of mortgage origination services has been on fire since clearing a deep consolidation in February.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) fell 3% in fast trade. At its worst, the stock was off 6% from Friday’s close and 8% from its 110.62 buy point from a flat base. The biotech is slated to report earnings on Wednesday. Analysts see profit rising 27% to 47 cents a share. Sales are seen jumping 43% to $293.2 million.


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