Stocks end mixed. Best first quarter since 1998.
Stocks closed out the quarter with the Dow gaining 742 points, its biggest first-quarter point gain in more than a decade and its biggest percentage gain since 1994.
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And Intel fell after FBR Capital Markets cut its earnings estimates for the first quarter for the company to 48 cents a share from 51 cents, and reduced its price target to $25 a share from $27. The brokerage is concerned about declining sales for notebooks and PCs, as tablets gain popularity.Skip to next paragraph
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Tesla jumped after reports that Morgan Stanley has upgraded the automaker's price target to $70 a share, in part because of rising demand for electric cars.
But CarMax plunged after the used car dealer posted same-store sales that fell short of expectations.
Among firms which recently priced their IPOs, Qihoo tumbled more than 6 percent after skyrocketing almost 86 percent on its first day of trading. Apollo Global traded flat after finishing lower on its first day.
Also expected this week is an IPO from health and wellness products retailer GNC. The firm is poised to start trading on the NYSE Friday under the ticker symbol "GNC."
Meanwhile, Ally Financial plans to raise up to $100 million in an IPO offering that will allow the government to sell down its majority stake in the bailed-out auto and mortgage lender. And private equity-backed Dunkin' Brands is considering an IPO of about $500 million in the second half of 2011, according to sources, Reuters reported.
Volume remained light for yet another session, with inly 542 million shares changing hands on the NYSE floor.
Initial claims for unemployment fell to a seasonally-adjusted 388,000 for the week ended March 26, from a revised 394,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported. Claims last week were reported at 382,000.
Also, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index showed the pace of business activity in the Midwest slipped in March.
European stocks closed lower, with banks among the weakest performers amid rekindled fears over the eurozone's debt crisis. After Ireland's stock market had closed, the Irish Central Bank announced that four of the country’s biggest banks would need up to 24 billion euros of additional capital, including 13.3 billion euros for Allied Irish Banks and 5.2 billion euros for Bank of Ireland. (Read more: Ireland Bank Shares Halted).
Asian markets finished mostly higher on the last day of the quarter.