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When the Federal Reserve throws a party, the stock market never misses it. All it took to send stocks soaring this morning was for Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to drop the vaguest of hints that the Fed might move forward with further efforts to stimulate the tepid U.S. economic recovery. By the end of the day, just about every sector of the market was up. The Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) soared by 90 points, leading both the Nasdaq Composite's, and the S&P 500's (INDEX: ^GSPC ) slightly less substantial, gains.
By the end of the day, most of the Dow's 30 components were up. But a few laggards got left behind. Pharmaceutical stocks took a bit of a sick day today, with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) closing unchanged, and Merck (NYSE: MRK ) losing 0.1%. Analysts have been focusing on patent expirations in the sector for years, but Fool contributor Max Macaluso notes that Pfizer has been getting rid of non-core operations, and trying to drill down on its drug business to build a successful long-term strategy. For Merck, it will still be hard for the company to recover from the hit that the loss of its blockbuster drug Singulair will have on its margins.
Also dropping was AT&T (NYSE: T ) , albeit just by a couple of pennies. The company's planned takeover of NextWave Wireless could be jeopardized by a shareholder lawsuit that argues that NextWave shouldn't have accepted a $1 per share offer and, instead, should have sought more lucrative offers for the company. The move is important for AT&T in its efforts to keep up with its rivals in the spectrum wars.
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