31 March, 2008

Markets close March with Small Rally

The Dow ended up 46 points during the Monday session putting its March totals at -3.5 points or a whopping -0.03%. A similar story for the Nasdaq as the 18 point positive day put its month returns at +7 points or +0.3%. Not exactly eye opening moves for a month long period that saw some heavy volatility, especially in the Financial and Energy sectors.

Making news in market action today were a couple Drug names as Vytorin, a cholesterol drug from Merck (MRK) and Schering-Plough (SGP), was mixed-up in a high-stakes sales and research scandal. News came out that an investigation into the drug research revealed the companies delayed and withheld information about the drug due to its potential impact on sales. It goes without saying that the research in question was overtly negative towards the drug.

Investors don't like scandals and the resulting publicity and sales hit was taken harshly as Merck was hit by 15% while Schering-Plough fell 24%. The resulting sell-off made some Pharma-Sector money move around with a main beneficiary today being Pfizer (PFE), with its own set of positive news, up 2%.

Disclosure: Author owns PFE

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