U.S. stock markets moved higher today, spurred on by some positive economic news. In the early afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) gained 0.6% with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both also rising 0.8%. The rise appears driven largely by a favorable report from the Institute for Supply Management. This morning, the ISM said its Purchasing Managers' Index increased more than economists expected, registering a score of 53.4 in March when economists expected a gain of only 53. Any reading above 50 indicates growth. The March expansion marks the 32nd consecutive month of economic expansion, according the ISM's report.
It hasn't been roses across the entire market today, though, especially for IPO darling Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN ) , whose shares are down more than 11% as of 2 p.m. This morning, the company announced it needed to revise its fourth-quarter earnings downward as a result of unexpectedly high refund charges during the quarter. Similarly, shares of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX ) got a cool 66% haircut this morning on news that its experimental colorectal cancer drug failed to pass late-stage trials. In the study, patients didn't live any longer with the use of perifosine and capecitabine when compared to the control drug Xeloda, which consists of capecitabine alone. The drug was developed by Canadian drugmaker Aeterna Zentaris (Nasdaq: AEZS ) , whose stock received an equally punishing drop. Its shares are down 65% thus far in the trading day.
It hasn't been all doom and gloom, though. Shares of Avon Products (NYSE: AVP ) jumped 17% today on its rejection of a $10 billion takeover bid from the smaller consumer products company Coty.
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