Mar 6 - Summary of business headlines: The Dow logs another lifetime high, fueled by private employment uptick; portfolio managers finding undervalued stocks harder to find; Fed says economic growth still modest in January/February; Icahn goes after Dell -CNBC. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Dow crosses 14,300 for the first time ever as the U.S. economy shows little sign of backtracking. Blue chips couldn't hold that level so settle with a record close just below that round number. After struggling for most of the session, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq finished mixed. Market gains are leading some analysts to predict a coming pullback. Portfolio manager David Giroux of T. Rowe Price says it's getting harder to find stuff to buy without over paying. SOUNDBITE: DAVID GIROUX, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, T. ROWE PRICE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We still like health care. Health care's valuations on a relative basis still look quite attractive. We like industrials. They are probably our two favorite sectors right now. We tend to be underweight energy and material stocks, who have also had a nice little rally here and we are paring back our exposure to those two sectors on strength." But some see the economy as supporting higher stock prices. The U.S. economy was still growing at a modest pace in January and February, according to the Federal Reserve's latest summary of economic conditions. The so-called Beige Book cited a pick-up in consumer spending, rising demand for autos and improving conditions in the housing market. Of course, the Fed's $85 billion a month debt buying spree is helping to keep interest rates low. Meanwhile, private payrolls grew by a larger-than-anticipated 198,000 in February and January's figure was revised higher. The report by payroll company ADP shows job creation spread across all business sizes. Activist investor Carl Icahn wants a piece of Dell. The outspoken investor has amassed a stake of about 100 million shares in the tech company, CNBC is reporting. His investment could make it even harder for founder Michael Dell to take the company private. Shares of Dell climbed close to 2 percent on the day. In European action, stocks couldn't hold their gains ahead of expected decisions from key central banks. Germany, however, bucked the downward trend.