Stocks today were reacting to a weak private-sector jobs report, more corporate earnings reports, and easing Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Earlier today, a private sector jobs report triggered some losses as stocks pared early gains. With 139,000 jobs added, private sector hiring in February was down from 205,000 jobs added in February 2013, although the number was improved over January's 127,000 new private sector jobs, according to ADP data.
Meanwhile, metals futures remained buoyant. Gold for April delivery settled up 2.2% at $1,350.30 per ounce in the highest closing price since Oct. 28. Silver traded up 1.2% to settle at $21.74 per ounce.
Crude oil for April delivery was down about 2% to close at $101.45 per barrel. Heating oil traded down 1.26% at $3.00 per gallon, and natural gas, which noted sharp rallies last week, sank 3% to $4.52 per million BTUs.
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Stock Market Today's Biggest Gainers: Fastenal, GT Advanced Technologies
Fastenal Company (Nasdaq: FAST), which sells industrial and commercial supplies, reported sales were up 7.7% in February from a year prior. Net sales were $274.5 million, up from $254.9 million in February 2013.
And, GT Advanced Technologies (Nasdaq: GTAT) shares were up about 2% today, marking a record high at $17.30, after Bank of America hiked its price target on the stock to $18.50 from $15.50.
Stock Market Today's Biggest Losers: Canadian Solar, PetSmart
Several stocks like Canadian Solar and PetSmart lost substantial ground on news other than the gloomier private sector jobs report.
Canadian Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: CSIQ) was down about 11% for much of the session today after it reported Q4 revenue of $159.5 million, short of the Street view of $525.4 million although higher than the $294.8 million it drew last year.
The solar company also reported earnings of $0.39 per share, also quite short of the Street view of $0.52 per share but up from last year's loss of $2.43 per share.
And, PetSmart Inc. (Nasdaq: PETM) shares were down about 1.4% after it reported fourth-quarter results. PetSmart's earnings of $1.28 per share beat the analyst view of $1.21 per share, but its sales were only in line with expectations.
PetSmart said it expects comparable same store sales to grow 2% to 4% this year to draw earnings of $4.42 to $4.54 per share.
The medical technology company reported a first-quarter loss of $0.06 per share, down from $0.06 in positive earnings that the Street expected but improved over the $0.10 per share loss it reported last year.
MGC also reported $6.3 million in revenue, down from the $7 million in revenue it reported last year and short of the $7.83 million Street view.
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