April's first day of trading got off to a rocky start, as Wall Street showed its lack of enthusiasm for the most recent domestic manufacturing numbers. March's Institute for Supply Management factory index came in below expectations, nearly showing a contraction in U.S. industry. Despite this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) ended only modestly lower, losing five points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 14,572.
While the Dow traded sideways, some components still saw some pretty wide swings. Health-care providers rose across the board today, and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) was one of them, adding 3.1% in anticipation of Medicare Advantage rate announcements after the bell. Rising as much as another 3% after hours, investors were pleased with the profit potential the new prices imply for health-care providers like UnitedHealth.
One sector that didn't have such a bang-up day was technology, and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) epitomized that sluggishness, falling 2.2%. One of the chip maker's top executives, Senior Vice President Ajei Gopal, is leaving the company to take a job with Silver Lake Partners, the private equity firm that's taking Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) private. For a company in the middle of a turnaround, losing valuable members of its leadership team isn't exactly what you want to see.
Shrugging off the dismal performance in the rest of tech today, shares of BlackBerry (NYSE:BB) rallied 4.6%. The company, despite losing 3 million subscribers in the last quarter alone, recently came out with new software that's still fresh on the scene in U.S. markets. It also didn't hurt that a Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) analyst hiked estimates for BlackBerry sales in the current quarter by a cool 1 million phones.
But even BlackBerry's rise was no match for Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA), which rocketed 15.9% higher today as the company confirmed that it will finally turn a profit in the first quarter on better-than-expected sales of its Model S. Some of the run-up was also due to speculation. Tesla founder Elon Musk tweeted last week that there will be a major company announcement on April 2.
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