U.S. stock markets came off their all-time highs on this first trading day of the second-quarter after the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing survey dropped to 51.3% from a reading of 54.2% in February. The weaker than expected data point sent all major indexes in the red. The DJIA closed down by 0.04% at 14,573, the S&P 500 fell 0.46% to 1,562, and the Nasdaq fell 0.87% to 3,239. Some profit-taking also kept stocks under pressure after Q1 closed out with double-digit gains on the Dow and S&P. Both closed at record highs last Friday.
American Greetings (AM) had a welcome start to the new quarter. The stock shot up more than 12% on news the company is being taken private. The buyers are members of the Weiss family, which has ties to the company since its founding more than 100 years ago. Family members are offering to buy shares they don't already own for $18.20 apiece. That's a 13% premium over the closing price on Thursday of Class A shares. The Weiss family, through its trusts and foundations, currently owns 94% of the company's Class B common shares.
Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are on full-throttle. They closed higher by 15% on word that sales are ahead of schedule and the company will post a quarterly net profit. Last week co-founder and CEO Elon Musk raised eyebrows when he tweeted there was good news down the road for the automaker--something which raised ethics questions. Tesla's all-electric Model S sedans sell at $49,000 after federal tax credits. The company says it has sold more than 4,750 of the vehicles. The Model S is built to travel roughly 265 miles on a single charge.
Another stock moving higher today was eBay (EBAY). The stock rose more than 2% on upbeat sentiments from several analysts who have also revised their price targets higher. The changes come as a result of eBay's analyst meeting last Thursday, its first in two years. EBay indicates it can sustain current growth levels. It is also pushing more options for its PayPal division.
Whirlpool (WHR) subsided today from its high water mark set last Thursday. The stock fell nearly 2%. On Friday S&P raised its credit rating on the appliance-maker to "BBB" citing improvements in the housing market and overall economy. Whirlpool shares have nearly doubled in price since last June. They had dropped to less than $20 at the start of the housing crisis. They're now trading at about six times that.
Churchill Downs (CHDN) rose 2% and hit a new 52-week high today after placing its latest bet. The company, best known for owning the site of the Kentucky Derby, is purchasing Oxford Casino in Maine. Churchill Downs says the acquisition is part of a larger plan to invest capital in gaming-friendly states and newer properties. Oxford Casino is less than one year old.