CHINA SLOWS: A report from China suggested that manufacturing is slowing there. Worries about lower demand for oil pushed the price of crude down 2 percent, which hurt oil stocks. Alpha Natural Resources, Consol Energy, and Noble Energy were all down 4 percent.
U.S. GROWS: The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 to a four-year low last week. Another measure of future economic activity, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators, rose in February for the fifth straight month.
IPOS ROSE: It was a good day for IPOs. Payment processor Vantiv Inc. soared 14.7 percent, while email marketer ExactTarget Inc. rocketed up 32 percent on their first day of trading.