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Markets closed marginally higher, yesterday, at the absence of any major events which could sway the markets significantly. Though the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell, other benchmarks including S&P 500 and the tech-laden Nasdaq gained modestly. The gain was primarily from optimism about a better economy and a rally in the energy stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 0.12% to 11,478.13. The S&P 500 added 0.25% to 1,247.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.25% to 2,649.56. On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing stocks were slightly overshadowed by declining ones and about 4 billion shares were traded.
Though the passing of the tax-cuts bill could have given a momentum to the indices, the optimism was somewhat faded by concerns about the conflicts between the two Korean nations. It was reported that South Korea had fired artillery at North Korea. Investors were also kept worried by the euro-zone debt issues as rating agency, Moody’s, was reported to lower Spain’s rating. Moody’s had earlier downgraded Ireland’s rating.
Among the stocks that were in focus were, Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), which soared 8.8% after investor Carl Icahn announced that he had increased his stake in the company to over 5%. Shares of Boeing (NYSE:BA) dropped 2.7% on the news of a possible cancellation of orders for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircrafts by Qatar Airways due to Boeing’s delays in delivery. Applied Signal Technology (NASDAQ:APSG), an intelligence and reconnaissance products company, surged 8% after Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), a defense contractor, agreed to buy Applied Signal for an estimated $490 million. Raytheon is going to pay $38 a share, an 8.5% premium to Applied Signal's Friday's closing price of $35.02.

Homebuilder stocks were on the buying interest of the investors ahead of key sector reports later this week. Certain stocks such as Lennar (NYSE:LEN), Pulte Group (NYSE:PHM) and D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) jumped 5.3%, 3% and 3.7%, respectively

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