Indexes sold off a bit Thursday after a four day rally, ahead of Friday's labor data from the government. The S&P 500 fell 0.11% and the NASDAQ 0.91% as weak biotech stocks hit again. They key economic report of the day was the Institute for Supply Management's service sector index rising to 53.1 in March, slightly below expectations for a reading of 53.5 but ahead of the February read of 51.6. This continued the "slowdown in economic data past few months was weather related" theme. Overseas, the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the central bank discussed a series of unconventional policy measures, including quantitative easing, at its latest policy meeting.
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The S&P 500 gained 0.70% and the NASDAQ 1.64% as the market tries to put behind ta first quarter where stocks did not go anywhere. Positive manufacturing data helped lift spirits even though it missed expectations. Some after effects from yesterday's dovish Janet Yellen remarks also were probably responsible.
Stocks ended a volatile first quarter with gains, to push the first quarter for the S&P 500 into the green. The S&P 500 gained 0.79% and the NASDAQ 1.04%. Stocks jumped right at the outset as Janet Yellen goosed the market with dovish comments that offset her hawkish commentary after the last Federal Reserve meeting. We have a lot of economic activity this week including ISM Manufacturing Tuesday, ISM Non Manufacturing Thursday, and the monthly employment data Friday.