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Market Update

U.S. Stocks Gain on Durable Orders Data, Facebook to Buy Oculus for $2 B

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 12:58 PM ET March 26 2014

11:10 AM New York – U.S. market indexes advanced after durable goods orders increased more than expected in February. Orders increased 2.2% in the month after declining for two months in a row. Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion.

Stocks opened higher after durable goods orders increased more than expected following a rise in consumer confidence index yesterday.

The latest string of economic data painted a steady but slow economic recovery and investors are giving positive spin on every release and discounting the harsh winter weather effect.

S&P 500 index increased 8.44 or 0.5% to 1,873.81 and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.5% or 21.55 to 4,255.90.

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Rise

Durable goods orders in February increased more than expected 2.2%, the Commerce Department said today.

The latest increase in demand for goods that are expected to last at least three years was driven by a rise in auto demand and follows two months of durable orders decline in a row.

Orders for goods declined 1.3% in January and economists were expecting orders to rebound to 1.1%.

Overall shipment in the month increased 0.9% after falling for two months in a row.

However, the report was not without caution, the non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, unexpectedly fell 1.3% in February. The orders for January were revised to an increase of 0.8%.

Shipment of core capital goods in the month increased 0.5% after falling 1.4% in January. The shipment data is used in the GDP calculation.

Transportation orders increased 6.9% in February after falling 6.2% in January.

European Markets

In London trading, FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% or 14.07 to 6,618.96 and in Frankfurt the DAX index jumped 1.1% or 104.75 to 9,443.15.

In Paris, CAC 40 index gained 0.9% or 40.50 to 4,384.62.

U.S. Stocks in Review

Facebook (FB) declined 0.7% to $64.45 and the social networking site operator agreed to acquire for $2 billion privately held Oculus. The Irvine, California based virtual reality devices maker’s acquisition is the second largest purchase after the acquisition of WhatApp for $19 billion in February.

Clinical lab services providers increased after a proposal in U.S. House sought higher payment rates, according to a report published by International Strategy & Investment Group LLC.

Laboratory Corp of America Holdings (LH) increased 5% or $4.85 to $99.56 and Quest Diagnostics Inc soared 6% to $58.22.

PVH Corp (PVH) increased 5.6% to $123.89 after the maker of apparel and footwear reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.43 a share, ahead of company forecast of $1.40.

Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc