The 4 Stocks That Led the Market Rally

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March 31, 2014: Markets opened higher on Monday even though the report on Chicago PMI was weaker than expected. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen gave a speech where she clarified her views on where the Fed stands now in relation to its dual mandates. In the final minutes of trading the DJIA was up 0.78%, the S&P 500 was up 0.75%, and the Nasdaq Composite was up 1.01%.

Today’s market mover among the DJIA stocks was Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) which added 2.49% and traded at $41.30 after setting a new 52-week high of $41.50 earlier in the day. Volume was on track to be roughly 10% below the daily average of around 39 million shares traded. Microsoft Office for the iPad is now the sixth best-selling app at Apple’s App Store, not bad after just a few days.

Another big gainer today was Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) which traded up 1.59% at $215.50 in a 52-week range of $161.27 to $235.50. The Dow’s highest priced stock slipped initially Monday morning as investors seemed worried about the suit filed against the company last week by Walmart. But the stock popped back up as quickly as it had dropped and remained at a higher level the rest of the day. Volume was about two-thirds the daily average of around 3.3 million shares traded.

Defense contractor United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) bounced higher today, to close the month down 1.67 % but up 1.74% for the day to $116.80 in a 52-week range of $90.30 to $118.42 after bouncing about the same amount lower on Friday. Share volume was about 30% lower than the daily average of around 3.6 million shares traded.

International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) traded up 1.33% today at $192.97. The company shook off a Supreme Court hearing today on potentially huge changes to U.S. patent law. IBM is not directly involved in suit, but it and many other tech companies have a lot at stake nevertheless. The 52-week range for the stock is $172.19 to $214.89. Trading volume for the shares was about 20% below the daily average of around 5.3 million shares traded.

Of the Dow 30 stocks 27 are set to close higher today and 3 are on their way to a lower close.