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A bumpy close to the month.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,213.6, -14.6, -0.1%
S&P 500: 1,397.9, -5.4, -0.3%
NASDAQ: 3,046.3, -22.8, -0.7%

And now the top stories:

  • Everyone woke up to the announcement that Microsoft would invest $300 million in a joint venture with Barnes & Noble. The plan is to spin off the Nook e-reader and College businesses.  Shares of BKS exploded higher today.  Among the big winners were Whitney Tilson’s T2 Partners.
  • In other deal news, Energy Transfer Partners said it would acquire energy giant Sunoco for $5.3 billion.  Shares of Sunoco jumped 20 per cent on the news. NATURAL GAS: A Stock Investor’s Guide To The Most Controversial Commodity In The World >
  • Elsewhere in the energy space, shares of natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy jumped.  The company has fallen under scrutiny due to compensation matters tied to its CEO Aubrey McClendon.  However, BMO’s Dan McSpirit argued that shares were reflecting “peak negativity.”  McSpirit upgraded the stock to outperform and slapped a $25 price target on the stock.
  • March incomes climbed 0.4 per cent, which was a bit ahead of expectations of 0.3 per cent.  Spending, however, increased by 0.3 per cent, which was just short of the 0.4 per cent gain expected.  Nothing really earth-shaking here.
  • Some widely followed sentiment indicators provided some disappointing reads on the economy.  The Chicago Purchasing Managers index fell to 56.2 from 62.2 last month.  Economists were looking for 60.0.  The Dallas Fed manufacturing survey index plunged to -3.4 from 10.8 a month ago.  Economists were looking for a more modest decline to 8.0.
  • Apple sold off again today on no obvious news.  The iPhone maker’s tax evasion practices was the target of criticism by the New York Times this weekend.  Apple also made the cover of this week’s Barron’s; Andrew Bary argued fervently that the stock should be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Despite the selling, longer term prospects for Apple could be extremely promising, especially if Apple can maintain its foothold in China.  Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, recently wrote: “But if you look at Apple in the context of the Goldman Sachs 2050 scenarios for China and their consumer, the potential sales are multiples are what they are today. And, if the brand can stay fashionable, wow.”  JP Morgan Thinks One Of These 15 Companies Could Be The Next Apple >
  • With April over, everyone wants to know if we should “sell in May and go away.”  RBC Capital Markets’ Myles Zyblock looked at the data going back to 1958, which show the summer months were pretty weak.  However, USGI’s Frank Holmes argues that it would be a mistake to sell in May.  Looking at data going back to 1988, Holmes notes that May is actually a pretty good month for stocks.
  • Don’t Miss: The World’s Biggest Companies Reveal What’s Really Happening In The Global Economy >

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