Market Wrap: Fed Report Lifts Bank Stocks, Market as Well

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Mark Lennihan/APCitigroup passed in the Fed review, sending shares up 3.3 percent to $54.08.

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YOR -- U.S. stocks rose in a broad rally on Thursday, bouncing back from two days of losses, helped by a weaker dollar that eased worries about corporate profits and tempered the outlook on the timing of a rate increase by the Federal Reserve. The day's gains lifted the Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (^GPSC) back into positive territory for the year so far.

Banking shares rallied in the wake of the Federal Reserve's annual check-up on the industry's health. The S&P financial sector rose 2.2 percent and was the day's biggest gainer. A weak outlook from Intel, however, limited gains in the tech sector.

Retail sales unexpectedly dropped for a third month in February, which helped the euro rebound from a 12-year low versus the dollar. That pause in the dollar's recent rally helped ease worries about corporate profits and the Fed's rate outlook.

Meeting Next Week

"It shows the market is still focused on the [Federal Open Market Committee] meeting next week, and it's going to be the deal maker or deal breaker based on how their language is nuanced," said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama. "To me, it shows maybe that moving the rate increase closer has potential fallout with regard to the ever-stronger U.S. dollar, and that's a headwind for growth and a headwind for earnings for a lot of companies that do business outside the U.S."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 259.83 points, or 1.47 percent, to 17,895.22, the S&P 500 gained 25.71 points, or 1.26 percent, to 2,065.95 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 43.35 points, or 0.89 percent, to 4,893.29.

The rally only represented a partial rebound after a recent bout of weakness, which has left the S&P 500 down 2.4 percent from its March 2 record closing high. The weakness has largely been driven by concerns the Fed could raise rates as early as June.

Intel Slashes Revenue Forecast

Citigroup (C) passed in the Fed review, allowing it to raise payouts and sending shares up 3.3 percent to $54.08. Bank of America (BAC) was told to get a better grip on internal controls and its data models; shares slipped 0.1 percent to $16.09.

Intel (INTC) slashed its first-quarter revenue forecast, citing lower-than-expected demand for business PCs and lower inventory levels across the PC supply chain. Shares of the Dow component fell 4.7 percent to $30.80 and limited the Nasdaq's advance.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,241 to 823, for a 2.72-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,982 issues rose and 765 fell, a 2.59-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 index posted 22 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 136 new highs and 73 new lows.

What to Watch Friday:

  • The Labor Department releases the Producer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
The 6 Best Things to Buy in March
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Market Wrap: Fed Report Lifts Bank Stocks, Market as Well
The travel industry sees a decline in travel throughout late winter, including March. That's often because people don't have a reason, or the time, to get away. If you can, though, take advantage of the low prices, which are found across the board. Cash in those airline miles, pick up that new luggage you've been meaning to buy and plan for a weekend getaway that'll give you some reprieve from the humdrum of your current life. Prices are lower on car rentals, airfare, lodging, travel essentials and more.
Now that the lovey-doviest day of the year has passed -- and there's no major jewelry-buying holiday in sight until Mother's Day -- retailers are eager to move their bling. Keep an eye out for in-store and online specials at your favorite retailers during all of March and even into April. Also, don't be afraid to put your haggling hat on and negotiate lower prices, even if there isn't a sale going on. Because of the pressure to sell during this slow time, you'll have an easier time negotiating with desperate sales reps.
March is National Reading Month, so expect an uptick in sales and specials throughout the month as retailers celebrate. Also be sure to shop clearance sections at your local bookstore and cash in on those coupons and online discount codes. For even cheaper books, try try thrift stores and websites such as
There's a noticeable shift in scents at the change of every season. For example, winter calls for richer, heavier personal fragrances, and candles and other home fragrances are typically very wintry (cranberries, birch trees, etc.) during the cold months. Perfumers and home fragrance retailers are putting out new scents right now, which means last season's goods are hitting the clearance bin. Stock up for now and later.
As we get closer to warmer weather, people pull up their sleeves and prepare for spring cleaning and organizing. So this is the time for new products (even if it's just a slight change in formulation or scent),and introductory rates to get you to try them. Keep your eyes peeled and your home fresh.
March is also National Frozen Food Month, so expect coupons and specials from frozen-food firms. To keep track of specials and to find coupons, follow these companies on social media, get e-mail blasts from them and pick up your Sunday paper. Score better deals when you stack a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon or special.
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