BUZZ-U.S. stocks: What's hot, what's not
** A slow March but S&P 500 hangs on to eke out its ninth straight quarterly gain.
** Year-to-date heat map: link.reuters.com/cav44w
** Strengthening US$ hitting exporter profits, low oil prices, geopolitics and timing of Fed rate hike persist while European and Japanese equities lure funds away
** M&A frenzy plants healthcare in commanding lead as Valeant Pharmaceuticals completes $11 bln Salix Pharmaceuticals acquisition and UnitedHealth announces buy of pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran
** Investors betting consumer discretionary stocks have plenty to gain from cheaper gas prices; Amazon touches 52-week high and Disney and Home Depot set life highs
** Weak PC trends and Sandisk's sluggish forecast send SOX into tailspin, though Intel's reported interest in Altera sparks speculation of industry consolidation
** Financials underperform as U.S. banks contend with legal bills and American Express loses Costco partnership and antitrust suit over merchant rules
** Energy near bottom as reduced rig count fails to dent oil supply glut
** Utilities languish, down 6 pct YTD, but off their lows, and REITs post 3 pct gain as Fed rate hike expectations are pushed back to later in year (Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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