Stocks closed higher after a choppy session. Disappointing readings on consumer spending and manufacturing offset by gains in energy shares. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks closing with solid gains in a volatile Monday session coming off a January that was the worst month in a year. Better-than-expected results from Exxon Mobil lifted that stock and energy shares offsetting disappointing readings on the manufacturing sector and consumer spending, which fell to its lowest level since 2009 in December. Moody's Capital Markets chief economist John Lonski: SOUNDBITE: JOHN LONSKI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S CAPITAL MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The expectation was that cheaper energy was going to boost discretionary spending on other items. Maybe it did to some extent, but not enough to compensate for the drop in spending on energy products." Shares of the postage meter maker Pitney Bowes plummeted after the company reported revenue that missed expectations. Wyndham Worldwide shares also hit hard after Deutsche Bank cut the price target on the operator of Days Inn, Howard Johnson, and other hotel brands. Lululemon's controversial founder Chip Wilson is calling it quits from the board of directors. He created a public relations nightmare after Lulu recalled pants for being see-through saying that some women's bodies "just actually don't work" for Lululemon's clothing. But, given that he still owns close to 14 percent of the company, he's enjoying the 75 percent jump in value since its June low. The Wall Street Journal reports that Justice officials are investigating Moody's Investors Services. The credit rating firm has been criticized for issuing favorable grades on mortgage deals in the lead-up to the financial crisis. Moody's shares fell. In Europe, a late day rally in the major country indexes overshadowing worries about Greece's debt negotiations.