Dow Starts Week Off With Sharp Gains, Closing Over 250 Points Higher
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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended lower Tuesday in a retreat from the previous session’s sharp rally as energy shares declined and the dollar edged up, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq registered their ninth straight quarterly rise.

The S&P’s 500 quarterly winning streak was its longest since 1998, while the Nasdaq’s was its longest ever. The Dow registered a slight loss for the quarter.

In the day’s action, energy shares were among the biggest drags as crude oil fell. The S&P Energy index declined 0.9 percent, while shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM) fell 0.7 percent to $85.

Oil was pressured as Iran and six world powers continued talks on a nuclear deal that could see the energy-rich country increase oil exports.

The dollar added to its sharp gains for the quarter, stoking worries about earnings for U.S. multinationals. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have declined by 2.8 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.

“Today’s price action is a reflection of all the bad in the quarter — the stronger dollar, weaker oil — and in some respects just a snapback from yesterday’s outsized gains,” said John Canally, chief economic strategist for LPL Financial in Boston.

“Tomorrow’s a new quarter and there’s a new batch of people ready to take some risks, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an up day.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 200.19 points, or 1.11 percent, to 17,776.12, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 18.35 points, or 0.88 percent, to 2,067.89 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 46.56 points, or 0.94 percent, to 4,900.88.

The day’s decline in stocks followed gains of more than 1 percent Monday on each of the major indexes.

All three indexes also posted losses for the month, with the Dow down 2 percent, S&P 500 down 1.7 percent and the Nasdaq down 1.3 percent.

For the first quarter, the Dow declined 0.3 percent, the S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent and the Nasdaq gained 3.5 percent.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Endurance Specialty Holdings agreed to buy reinsurer Montpelier Re Holdings for about $1.83 billion, while Charter Communications agreed to acquire Bright House Networks in a roughly $10 billion deal.

Charter (CHTR) rose 5.3 percent to $193.11 while Montpelier (MRH) rose 0.8 percent to $38.44. Endurance (ENH) fell 4.9 percent to $61.14.

March payrolls data are due Friday, when the stock market is closed for the Good Friday holiday. If the report is strong, investors could view the U.S. Federal Reserve as more likely to raise rates earlier than currently expected.

NYSE decliners outnumbered advancers 1,794 to 1,247, for a 1.44-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,649 issues fell and 1,090 advanced, for a 1.51-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 72 new highs and 42 new lows.

About 6.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.7 billion daily March average, according to BATS Global Markets.

What to watch Wednesday:

Monsanto (MON) reports quarterly financial results before U.S. markets open.
Automakers release vehicle sales for March.
The Mortgage Bankers Association releases weekly mortgage applications at 7 a.m.
ADP (ADP) reports private payroll employment for March at 8:15 a.m.
At 10 a.m., the Institute for Supply Management releases its manufacturing index for March, and the Commerce Department releases construction spending for February.

It may seem like a strange trio, but these three items are less expensive than normal this month. "April is soy awareness month," notes Teri Gault, CEO of The Grocery Game and expert in grocery savings and supermarket trends. "Because of this, many stores offer terrific sales on all sorts of soy items, so be sure to check your coupons and sales for specials." Ham is cheaper in the weeks leading up to Easter. Asparagus is cheaper because it’s in season. Gault says to buy extra and freeze the green stuff for omelets, quiche and soup.
1. Soy, ham and asparagus

"For the best savings on Easter items, wait until after April 5 to stock up on holiday-related merchandise," advises Kendal Perez, savings expert with He says you can save 50 percent or more on consumer favorites, including those adorable Peeps and all-things Easter decor. "The savings will only get deeper as the month progresses, though the inventory will plummet as well."
2. Post-Easter items

The thought of taxes may send you into a nervous, stressful panic, even if you’re getting a refund. To help placate the masses, "many businesses give their own ‘tax breaks’ on April 15 by offering deals and freebies to their customers," says Howard Schaffer, vice president of "Look for deals in a variety of businesses, especially restaurants and fast food chains."
3. Tax day deals

Speaking of taxes, many business are founded in mid-April, just after Tax Day. "Newly formed organizations require office supplies, so expect office supply stores to have sales on office furniture, furnishings and desk supplies," says Jon Lal, CEO and founder of
4. Office supplies

"April is the best time to score a deal on vacuum cleaners," says David Bakke, consumer expert at "Retailers target the notion of spring cleaning and therefore offer these machines at discounts." This is also the month that new models are introduced, so last year’s models are likely on sale. Consider shopping at a second-hand store for recently donated vacuum cleaners, as people replace their old ones.
5. Vacuum cleaners

"Cruel as it my have seemed, spring apparel debuted in February, tempting us with pretty florals and lightweight fabrics despite still-frigid temperatures," says Perez. "Typically items go on sale two months after they arrive, so mid-April offers both price relief and more appropriate weather for spring’s latest trends." Keep your eye out for markdowns between 20 and 40 percent off, and note that deeper discounts may show up in May (though stock will have dwindled by this point).
6. Spring clothing

‘Tis the season to cultivate your garden and reignite your green finger. Warmer weather makes for growing season, as you know. Not only will you find that seeds, garden-supplies, soil and the like are a plenty, you’ll also find noteworthy discounts on all of the above. Not to mention, you’ll save plenty of money by harvesting your own herbs and vegetables vs. buying everything in stores.
7. Garden supplies

Many runners pick up their calorie-burning habit after the weather heats up, which is right around late March through April. Retailers have taken note of this trend and offer enticing deals. "Last year, for example, Finish Line offered a coupon valid through the end of April offering $20 off orders of $125 or more," says Perez.
8. Sneakers

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