Treasurys remained lower after a strong auction of three-year notes. The $38 billion sale fetched a high yield of 1.414% percent and the bid-to-cover ratio was 3.27.
Auctions of 10-year notes and 30-year bonds are expected in the next two days, respectively.
Oil fell slightly, trading between $76 an $77 a barrel while the dollar roseagainst the euro. Gold shot upabout $20 to $1,220 an ounce, approaching its all-time high above $1,226, as investors flocked to the metal as a safe-haven play.
Gold stocks advanced, including Randgold, Royal Gold and Jaguar Mining, all of which were up more than 2 percent.
In the day's economic news, wholesale inventories rose 0.4 percent in March and wholesale sales jumped 2.4 percent, the biggest gain since November.
Two hearings to note on Capitol Hill today — one on the market's freefall last Thursday and another on the oil spill.
Techs were among the day's leading sectors.Google's Android operating system is now the No. 2 most used smartphone software, displacing Apple. But Sprint says it will no longer sell Google's Nexus One smartphone. The No. 1 is from Blackberry maker Research In Motion .
Intel shares rose after the tech giant said it expects annual earnings growth to double over the next few years, bolstered by an expected 15-16 percent expansion in the global personal computer market.
And, investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in the mobile phone maker Motorola , according to an SEC filing.
Meanwhile, big banks were lower. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan were each down about 1 percent following news that the trading operations at both firms made money every single day of the first quarter— a first for both companies.
Regional banks showed strength, with Regions Financial, Fifth Third and SunTrust all higher.
ButBank of New York Mellon fell after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo sued the bank and two of its former senior officers, claiming that they kept clients uninformed about problems involving Bernard Madoff’s investment firm.
Biotech stocks saw a boost after Gilead Sciences unveiled a large stock-buyback program. Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline shares also rose.
Shares of Legg Mason jumped more than 10 percent to lead the S&P 500. At least two brokerages upgraded the stock after the asset manager reported its fourth straight quarterly profit and announced a restructuring plan.
Priceline tumbled over 10 percent after the travel-booking site reported its earnings more than doubled in the latest quarter but issued a disappointing forecast as global turmoil is threatening the travel industry. Susquehanna Financial raised the firm's price target to $315 from $260 while Bank of America Merrill cut the price target to $270 from $300.
Toyota shares rose slightly. The auto maker said it expects a smaller-than-expected profit for the current fiscal year, hurt by aggressive sales incentives, a rising Japanese yen, and Europe's debt problems. Separately, Toyota said it's reviewing NHTSA's investigation into a 2005 recall related to a steering wheel part, and also says it is cooperating with the investigation.
JA Solar rose after the company reported a sharp rise in quarterly profit and raised its outlook on strong demand for solar electricity-generating equipment.
After the bell, reports are due out from Disney and videogame maker Electronic Arts . Brokerage MKM Partners raised EA's stock to "neutral" from "sell."
European shares closed lower, led by banks,in the wake of their massive surge during Monday's session.
Greece is expected to submit its request for the first installment of aid from both the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Those funds will be used to refinance a 10-year bond issue that matures on May 19.
TUESDAY: Intel shareholder meeting; Congressional hearings on market's freefall and oil spill
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage applications; trade balance; weekly crude inventories; 10-year auction; Fed's Bullard speaks; earnings from Macy's
THURSDAY: Ford, Google shareholder meetings; weekly jobless claims; import/export prices; Fed's Kocherlakota speaks; 30-year auction; earnings from Kohl's, Nordstrom, Nvidia
FRIDAY: Government's retail-sales report; industrial production; consumer sentiment; business inventories; earnings from JC Penney
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