March 31st, 2010
05:57 PM ET

Wall Street reaches end of a solid quarter

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks: Strong quarter ends with a loss

Stocks ended lower Wednesday, but higher for the quarter after a strong showing in March, as downbeat jobs and manufacturing reports cooled a recent runup.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 50 points, or 0.5 percent, to end at 10,857.31. The S&P 500 index slipped 4 points, or 0.3 percent. The Nasdaq composite lost 7 points, or 0.30 percent.

Wall Street reached the end of a solid quarter, even with Wednesday's losses. The Dow gained 4.1 percent over the first three months of the year, after a 5.2 percent advance in March, while the S&P added 4.9 percent for the quarter.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq had the strongest quarterly showing, up 5.7 percent. Wednesday's declines were broad based, with 25 of the blue-chip Dow's 30 components ending lower.

Oil hits a 17-month high

Oil prices posted a 17-month high, nearing $84 a barrel Wednesday after President Obama announced his plans to open new areas to offshore drilling.

What prices are doing: Crude oil prices for May delivery rose $1.39 to $83.76 a barrel. Oil settlement is its highest since Oct. 9, 2008 when it settled at $86.59. What's moving the market: In a speech Wednesday morning, President Obama announced he will open new areas for drilling along the Atlantic coastline, the Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska.

Dollar dips after jobs report

The dollar dipped against major currencies on Wednesday after a disappointing report on private-sector payrolls.

What currencies are doing: The dollar was down 0.8 percent against the euro to $1.351. It dipped 0.8 percent versus the U.K. pound to $1.518 and gained 0.7 percent on the Japanese yen to ¥93.405.

What's moving the market: Prices for the greenback dipped against the euro and British pound, but held onto gains on the yen, after a less than stellar jobs report from payroll processor ADP.

ADP showed that the United States lost 23,000 private sector jobs in March after losing an upwardly revised 24,000 in February. Economists surveyed by expected jobs to grow by 40,000.

Treasurys rise on weak jobs data

Treasurys rose Wednesday after a report showed an unexpected decline in jobs, pushing investors to pull back on riskier assets and turn to the safety of government debt.

What prices are doing: The benchmark 10-year note rose 2/32 to 98-3/32, driving the yield down to 3.84 percent from 3.86 percent late Tuesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The 30-year bond rose 3/32 to 98-4/32 with a yield of 4.73%. The 5-year note edged up 2/32 to 99-7/32 with a yield of 2.57 percent. The 2-year note edged up 1/32 to 99-10/32 with a yield of 1.04 percent.

What's moving the market: Investors flocked to Treasurys for their safe-haven appeal following a report from payroll processing firm ADP that showed private employers shed 23,000 jobs in March. reporters Julianne Pepitone, Annalyn Censky, Chavon Sutton and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.

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