Stocks were able to turn the tide after last week's 2% slide. The Dow eked out a 0.13% gain, while the S&P 500 rose 0.50% to 1,562, and the Nasdaq led the way rising 0.87% to 3,234.
The National Association of Realtors says prices were up 12% in March from a year earlier. That's the biggest monthly gain in more than seven years. However, the pace of sales slowed from February. Sales of distressed properties, which include foreclosures, made up 21% of the market. That's the lowest percentage since the National Association of Realtors began compiling that information near the end of 2008.
As for individual stocks, Caterpillar (CAT) dug out of a steep hole, closing up 2.8%. Shares were down this morning after the company reported a 45% drop in profits for the quarter when compared to last year. Caterpillar says it was hurt in particular by falling demand for its mining equipment. Earnings came in at $1.31 a share versus estimates of $1.40 a share. Revenues were also down by about $500 million. Caterpillar also lowered its revenue outlook for the year to somewhere between $57 billion and $61 billion. The company's earlier estimate had been between $60 billion and $68 billion.
Traders are transfixed on Netflix (NFLX). The stock closed higher by nearly 7%, and is soaring in after-hours trading after releasing better than expected Q1 earnings results. The company earned 31-cents a share on revenues of $1.02 billion, versus an expected 18-cents a share on $1 billion in revenues. Netflix stock is up 140% in the past 6 months, and more 80% year-to-date.
Six Flags (SIX) shareholders got quite am 8% thrill today. The amusement-park operator lost $1.23 per share, but estimates had been for losses of $1.46 per share. Six Flags says it was able to pare losses by boosting attendance at its parks by 41% during the period. About half the gains appear to be the result of earlier spring breaks, which this year fell in March instead of April. However, the company also says guests have been spending more money at their parks. By the way, Six Flags' competitor SeaWorld (SEAS) may have lifted the tide. Its shares rose 24% on Friday when it went public again.
The biggest gainer of the day may be Power-One (PWER). Shares rose nearly 60% on news the company is being acquired. Swiss engineering company ABB (ABB) says it will acquire Power-One for $6.35 a share. Power-One is the second-largest maker of solar inverters. The equipment allows solar power to be funneled into grids. It has 3,300 employees worldwide. The deal is expected to go through in the second half of the year.