Stocks Pare Gains At Midday; Valeant Jumps 7%

Stocks extended gains near midday Monday as investors shrugged off Friday’s weak jobs report.

The S&P500 rose 0.7%, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.6% and the Nasdaq added 0.5%. Volume in the stock market today was running lower on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq compared to last Thursday’s pre-holiday levels.

Auto, mining and oil stocks led the gains, following strong vehicle sales data Friday and gains in gold and crude oil prices Monday.

Service sector reports were mixed. Markit’s service purchasing managers’ index rose to 59.2 in March, up from 57.1 in February and above forecasts for 58.4. But the Institute for Supply Management’s March service index slipped to 56.5, down from 56.9 in February and just below forecasts for 56.7.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) jumped 8%, clearing its 10-week moving average, after announcing on Friday that deliveries of its luxury battery-powered cars rose a better-than-expected 55% in the first quarter. The stock is still in deep in a six-month consolidation.

Tata Motors (TTM), the maker of Volvo and Land Rover vehicles, rose more than 1%. General Motors (GM) climbed 1% and was testing resistance at its 50-day line.

In the oil patch, Halliburton (HAL) rose more than 3% in heavy volume, though the oil services provider remains far below its 52-week high.

Higher oil prices hurt airline stocks, however, IBD 50 issue Alaska Air Group (ALK) slipping 1% in volume that was running above average.

Most IBD 50 stocks were higher after recovering from early losses. Epam Systems (EPAM), a provider of IT and software development services, soared 6% to a new high, clearing a flat base with a 63.60 buy point in huge volume.

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Gentherm (THRM), a maker of heated automobile seats, was up more than 3%. It’s now more than 5% past a 47.97 buy point of a cup-with-handle base, out of buying range.

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