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Lower Open As Factory Orders Drop

A drop in March factory orders sent the markets tumbling to a lower open with the Dow dropping 73 points to 13,206. Nasdaq fell 16 points to 3033.

On the upside

Ascena Retail Group will pay approximately $890 million to acquire Charming Shoppes (Nasdaq: CHRS).

Standard Microsystems (Nasdaq: SMSC) will be acquired by Microchip Technology (Nasdaq: MCHP) for approximately $830 million in cash.

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) cited improved sales for raising its first quarter outlook.

On the downside

Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) narrowed first quarter losses but the results fell short of expectations. Separately, Reuters reported that chief executive Aubrey McClendon formed and lead a private hedge fund that traded commodities produced by Chesapeake.

OpenTable (Nasdaq: OPEN) reported higher first quarter earnings but revenue missed expectations and the company forecast current quarter revenue below estimates.

Howard Weil downgraded Arch Coal (Nasdaq: ACI) to a Market Perform rating.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on the NYSE and by more than 2 to 1 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks fell 6 points to 809.

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