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Dow Dips, Other Markets Up for the Day; Micron (MU) Beats

On this final trading day of calendar Q1, the S&P 500 reaches another new all-time closing high, +0.37% on the day. The Dow dipped going into the close, though it was higher for most of the session: -0.25%. The Nasdaq posted the highest daily gains, +1.54%, and concluded its fifth straight monthly gain, albeit a more challenging one. The Russell 2000 brought in +1.13% on the day; it too is bouncing off some more difficult trading days in the recent past.

Today’s Chicago PMI for March came in well ahead of expectations, depicting yet another metric tracking economic strength of late: 66.3 beat the 60.3 consensus estimate, and performed even better than the 59.5 reported for February. Pending Home Sales for February, which also came out during the day today, reported more than 3x worse than expectations: -10.6% versus -3.1% consensus. It was also well below the -2.8% number that came in for January, illustrating some jammed gears in the housing market.

Pfizer PFE-BioNTech BNTX reported 100% effectiveness in treating children aged 12-15 in a new study on its Covid-19 vaccine. In a pool of 2200 patients of teen and pre-teen age, the well-tolerated vaccine saw zero Covid cases. while those receiving placebo has 18 cases. Last week, Pfizer also began a study for younger children, aged 5-11, and will then move onto kids aged 2-5 after that. Should all go well, we may expect to see a vast majority of Americans vaccinated, hopefully before the next school year.

Micron Technologies MU, a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) memory and data storage giant, posted a modest beat on both top and bottom lines in its fiscal Q2 earnings release after the closing bell: 98 cents per share outperformed expectations on earnings, while $6.24 billion in sales eked ahead of $6.23 billion estimated, +30% year over year. Guidance for next quarter was raised to $1.62 per share, plus or minus 7 cents, while $7.1 billion in expected Q3 revenue is notably better than the $6.7 billion in the Zacks consensus.

Shares rose 3% initially on the news, following gains of 20% year to date and +110% in the past year, from the March 2020 lows. The company has not missed an earnings expectation in two years. Its four-quarter trailing positive surprise average is more than 10%. And with raised guidance for the quarter to come, it’s like Micron will retain its Strong Buy or Buy rating into the future.

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