After The Market Close
Closing out the day... Stocks managed to finish higher today, paring earlier losses, as investors digested better-than-expected news in the jobs sector. A strong report on Germany's economy and a decent reading on U.S. unemployment lent some early support. While worries about Greece continue to loom in the background, investors were encouraged by a reading on Germany's business conditions that rose for a fourth straight month in February, the highest level since July, according to the Munich-based Ifo institute. The Labor Department reported initial claims for unemployment benefits totaled 351,000 during the week ended Feb. 18, unchanged from last week's revised total. Meanwhile, U.S. home prices rose more in December than analysts expected, and manufacturing activity in the Kansas City region nearly doubled from a month ago, to its highest level since last June. Tomorrow, Consumer Sentiment for February should rise to 73.5 in the final reading, after falling to 72.5 in the preliminary report while January New Home Sales should rise to 315,000 annualized units after tumbling down to 307,000 units in December. Among the high volume stocks today Vivus (VVUS), Procter & Gamble (PG), EBay (EBAY), Transocean (RIG) and International Business Machines (IBM) posted gains while Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Pfizer (PFE), Johnson Controls (JCI), Kohls (KSS) and Polypore International (PPO) moved lower. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index closed the day even at down $1.39 at $16.80 a 7.64% decrease. The Put/Call Volume Ratio is at 0.90 while the Put/Call Open Interest ratio is at 0.95.