U.S. President Barack Obama talks with pub-goers as First Lady Michelle Obama draws a pint of stout while coached by Ollie Hayes (right) at the Ollie Hayes pub in Moneygall, Ireland, May 23, 2011.
It was a big up-day for stocks.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,247.2 (+181.5, +1.1%)
- S&P 500: 1,858.8 (+17.7, +0.9%)
- Nasdaq: 4,279.9 (+34.5, +0.8%)
And now the top stories:
- In response to Sunday's Crimean referendum to split from Ukraine and join Russia, President Barack Obama responded with sanctions as expected. "We are making it clear that there are consequences for their actions," Obama said from the White House briefing room, adding it will "increase costs on Russia."
- " The key now is what Russia does next, " said Brown Brothers Harriman's Marc Chandler. " The continued rally of European peripheral bonds markets and the euro suggests the financial markets are undeterred by the Crimean referendum and sanctions . Although many policy wonks talk about the break from the post-Cold War order, investors seem to be saying not much has really changed or will change. "
- The Russian stock market brushed off the news and surged 3.9%.
- Industrial production beat expectations and increased by 0.6% in February. Economists were looking for a 0.2% climb. "The rebound in industrial production in February suggests that the economy is waking up after hibernating during the past few months of unusually bad weather," said Capital Economics' Paul Dales. "This makes it even more likely that the Fed will decide to taper its monthly asset purchases further at this week’s policy meeting."
- The NAHB homebuilder sentiment index climbed to just 47 in March from 46 in February. This was weaker than the 50 level expected by economists. "[B]uilders continued to be affected by poor weather and difficulties in finding lots and labor," said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.
- The New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing index also missed expectations, climbing to just 5.61 in March from 4.48 in February. Economists were expecting a 7.00 reading. "[T]he Empire State result clearly raises the risk of yet another weak headline figure in the Philadelphia Business Outlook Survey," warned Societe Generale's Brian Jones.
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