STOCKS GAIN ON LAST DAY OF WORST QUARTER IN OVER 5 YEARS.
The headline: Stocks Close Up As Quarter Winds To A Close
Investors bid the Dow higher as the price of oil and other commodities declined, explains Dylan Ratigan. The rally caps a negative quarter for all the major averages. Following are the best and worst performing sectors of the first quarter.
TOP 3 SECTORS – Q1
1) Consumer Staples -2.6%
2) Materials -3.7%
3) Industrials -5.6%
BOTTOM 3 SECTORS – Q1
1) Technology -15.4%
2) Financials -13.1%
3) Health Care -12.6%
Dig down, counsels Guy Adami. I like the railroads and I recommend looking at Wabtec and Trinity Industries as related plays.
PAULSON PLAN: WINNERS & LOSERS
The headline: Who Will Benefit As Treasury Secretary Paulson Proposes Sweeping New Financial Regulation?
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson proposed the most sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system since the Great Depression, explains Dylan Ratigan.
The plan would change how the government regulates thousands of businesses from the nation's biggest banks and investment houses down to the local insurance agent and mortgage broker.
Paulson unveiled the 218-page plan in a speech in Treasury's ornate Cash Room. He declared that a strong financial system was important not just for Wall Street but also for working Americans.
I don’t know what to make of it, says Karen Finerman, other than to say whatever the first proposal is – won’t be the last.
I think it’s dangerous for futures exchanges such as the CME Group , says Guy Adami. If the government strips the clearing portion out, there could be no value left in the stock.
The move is probably designed to buy time, speculates Jeff Macke.
> Paulson Unveils Overhaul of Financial Rules
SCHERING'S BIGGEST DROP EVER
The headline: Schering-Plough, Merck Plummet, Weighing on Market.
Shares of Merck and Schering-Plough fell to record lows Monday, as analysts warned new clinical data would cause sales of their blockbuster cholesterol drug Vytorin to fall further, explains Dylan Ratigan.
The companies market Vytorin through a joint venture, but earlier this year, partial results from a clinical study showed that it was no more effective at limiting plaque buildup than Merck's Zocor, a drug that is already available in generic form.
> Find out how Pete Najarian recommends trading the news in “Vytorin Fallout”
OIL SPILLS $4
The headline: Crude Oil Moved Lower Ahead Of Supply Report Wednesday.
Crude oil prices accelerated their slide Monday, tumbling more than $4 a barrel amid a broad-based commodities sell-off, explains Dylan Ratigan.
Monday's drop came as traders sold off a wide range of commodities, from precious metals and gasoline to pork bellies and soybeans at the end of the first quarter. The price of gold, for instance, sank $14.40 to settle at $916.20 on the Nymex.
Crude could be setting up an important technical level, explains Jeff Macke. I think investors can get long the United States Oil Fund .
I think it’s possible oil goes to $98, speculates Guy Adami. If you want to play energy look at nat gas stocks such as Apache .
OPTIONS ACTION: ALCOA
The headline: Pete Seeing Aggressive Call-Buying In Metal Giant Alcoa.
Options action suggests to Pete Najarian that Alcoa stock could go higher. He thinks the stock is currently trading at the lower end of its range.
SMOKE SPIN-OFF LIGHTS UP
The headline: Altria Spin-Off Philip Morris International Pops On 1st Day Of Trading.
Shares of the spin-off company, Philip Morris International (PM) jumped 5% on first day of trading as investors bet the international cigarette company has far better growth prospects than domestic parent, Altria. Both stocks will be listed in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, explains Dylan Ratigan.
I like both stocks long term, says Karen Finerman.
BOUGHT THE FARM?
The headline: Did Monday's Government Crop Report Mark the Top In The Booming Agriculture Stocks?
Farmers will be planting even less corn than expected as the soybean takes its turn as the darling of agriculture this year, according to a key government report released Monday that also points to higher food prices at the supermarket, explains Dylan Ratigan.
Corn acreage will fall to 86 million acres this year, down 8 percent from last year's ethanol-fueled record, while soybeans are expected to hit 74.8 million acres, an 18 percent increase.
The numbers are contained in the Agriculture Department's annual March plantings report, the bellwether for farmers' intentions for the growing season ahead.
North Dakota farmer Roger Neshem, a friend of Fast Money, joins the panel for this conversation. Watch the weather, he says. If it gets very wet, all that corn might not get planted. The optimum planting time for corn is before May 5th, he reveals. After that, farmers switch to soybeans.
Look at Dow Chemical , DuPont and Monsanto as seed trades, counsels Pete Najarian.
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Trader disclosure: On Mar.31, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Macke Owns (YHOO), (HAS), (INTC); Najarian Owns (AAPL), (CSCO), (MSFT), (NOK), (TSO), (XLF), (YHOO); Najarian Owns (AA) Calls, (COP) Calls, (BSC) Calls; Najarian Owns (LEH) Puts; Finerman's Firm Owns (SPY), (MO), (MSFT), (NYX), (PM), (TSO), (VLO), (WMT), (YHOO), (GS), (GLNG); Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (IWM); Charles Schwab Is A Sponsor Of "Fast Money"
Roger Neshem Owns (AGU), (DE), (ARII)