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  • Dow Jones Industrial Average up 34.59 (+0.27%) to 13,080.73.
  • S&P 500up 4.33 (+0.31%) to 1,397.11.
  • Nasdaq Composite up +4.60 (+0.15%) to 3,067.92

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng Index down 1.11%.
  • China Shanghai Composite Index down 1.10%.
  • FTSE 100 up 0.06%.

Stocks reversed early losses, led by energy and other commodity stocks, to finish today's session with small gains. Financial stocks also rallied.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped three days of losses, ending up about 0.3%, with the NYSE Composite and the S&P 500 closing slightly higher. Technology stocks were the only sector in the S&P 500 to post declines today, paring gains for the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index as well.

Energy stocks benefited today from a weaker dollar as well as reports that Iranian oil exports are down 14% this month as sanctions take hold, sending crude futures as much as $3 a barrel higher before halving those gains later on.

Stocks slumped early today after data found new-home sales fell more than expected during February. Prices rose slightly and the sales pace was 14% above year-ago levels, fueling hope the housing market continues to mend.

In company news, shares of homebuilder KB Home (NYSE:KBH) slid after the company said orders for new homes declined, trumping a narrowed Q1 loss. Rivals Pulte (NYSE:PHM) and DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) also were down today.

Also, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) resumed trading this morning after an apparent bad trade triggered a single-stock circuit breaker. A trade for 100 AAPL shares, executed on a Bats Global Markets Inc (BATS) venue, sent shares of the world's most valuable company down to $542.80 each, Bloomberg News reports. The order was executed at 10:57 a.m. ET. Two more transactions, which sent the stock back above $598, were made before the halt. BATS late today cancelled its upcoming initial public offering.

Crude eased following a sharp run-up earlier in the day, finishing at $105.16 a barrel, up 1.52. April natural gas futures rose fractionally, settling at $2.275 per 1 million British thermal units. Gold futures gained $20 to end at $1,662.30 an ounce.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) GLUU, Needhnam initiates coverage with Strong Buy; price target double Thursday's close.

(+) CPWM, Q4 profit grows 28%, easily beating Street expectations.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) MU, Reports third consecutive net loss in fiscal Q2.

(-) LAYN, Expects Q4 loss because of weak municipal spending.

Source: Energy, Commodities Lead The Way Higher