Dow nearly moves into black for '09

Up 139 early in the afternoon, the Dow fades to a 32-point gain. Oil briefly tops $73. The Treasury's 30-year bond auction is successful.

By Charley Blaine Jun 11, 2009 8:39PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) made another strong run today at turning positive for the year. But last-hour weakness left it just shy of the mark yet again.

 

The blue-chip index closed up 32 points to 8,771 -- about five points under its Dec. 31 finish of 8,776.39.

 

During the day in five of the last eight sessions, the blue-chip index has traded above its 2008 close. Each time, the index has faded back into the red.

 

Of the five sessions, today's was possibly the most maddening for bulls.

 

The Dow had reached as high 8,878, a gain of some 139 points, around 1:25 p.m. ET. And swooned yet again.

 

But don't forget, the major indexes did end the day higher, thanks to two decent economic reports and a moderation in interest rates.

 

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX), while off their highs, did have their best closes of the year. The S&P 500 was up 6 points to 945; the Nasdaq added 9 points to 1,862.

To be more precise, the S&P 500's close was its best since Nov. 5.; the Nasdaq's finish was its best since October.

 

Futures trading suggests that stocks will open flat on Friday.

 

The Dow is now down less than a tenth of a percentage point for the year. The S&P 500 is up 4.6%, and the Nasdaq is sporting an 18.1% gain for the year. And the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X), up 2 points, 0.1%, to 1,497, is up 23.6% this year. The index tracks the largest Nasdaq stocks.

 

Retail sales rose 0.5% in May, the Commerce Department reported, which was the first gain in three months and the fourth gain in 12.

 

Major indexes since rally began
Index  Today Chg. since March 9 '09 Loss to March 9
Dow Jones Industrial Average 8,770.92 33.97% -25.40%
Standard & Poor's 500 Index  944.89 39.67% -25.10%
Nasdaq Composite Index 1,862.37 46.80% -19.56%
Nasdaq-100 Index  1,497.01 43.41% -13.85%
Russell 2000 Index  526.08 53.26% -31.27%

 

And there was some good news for the job market: First-time jobless claims fell by 24,000 to 601,000 last week, the Labor Department said in its weekly report. Economists were looking for 615,000 claims. The four-week moving average fell by 10,500 to 621,750.

 

Stocks also got a big boost from the results of the government's 30-year Treasury auction, which were released at 1 p.m. ET. The bonds sold for 4.72%, the highest yield in an auction of 30-year bonds since August 2007. But bond traders had expected the yield to come in at 4.8%.

 

Rising energy prices -- crude oil closed nearly at $73 -- gave energy shares a boost. Energy was the best performer among the 10 sectors in the S&P 500.

 

Energy prices -- New York close
  Fri. Thur. Month chg. YTD chg.
Crude oil  $72.68 $71.33 9.61% 62.96%
(per barrel)
Heating oil $1.8534 $1.8326 13.22% 31.85%
(per gallon)
Natural gas  $3.9330 $3.7080 1.60% -30.04%
(per mil. BTY)
Unleaded gasoline $2.0649 $2.0153 7.31% 104.81%
(per gallon)
Retail gasoline $2.6320 $2.6270 6.70% 62.76%
(per gallon; AAA)

 

Financial stocks were generally winners with some exceptions. While Genworth Financial (GNW, news, msgs), Regions Financial (RF, news, msgs) and Bank of America (BAC, news, msgs) were the top performers among S&P 500 stocks.

 

The laggards for the index included UnitedHealth (UNH, news, msgs), MBIA (MBI, news, msgs) and American Express (AXP, news, msgs).

Genworth was up 9.5% to $6.91, with Regions up 9.3% to $4.37 and Bank of America was up 8.3% to $12.97.

 

UnitedHealth dropped 6.5% to $24.05, MBIA was down 5% to $5.84, and American Express fell 4% to $25.63.

 
Thanks to three analyst upgrades in the last two days, Bank of America was the leader among the 30 Dow stocks; American Express was the worst performer.

 

Boeing (BA, news, msgs), however, was the biggest drag. Its 3.1% loss to $50.66 subtracted about 12 points from the index.

 

The company lowered its 20-year forecast for the commercial airplane market for the first time in at least a decade, citing the global recession, declining passenger and cargo traffic, and unpredictable fuel prices.

 

The internals of the market were fairly good with 21 Dow stocks showing gains, along with 298 S&P 500 stocks and 51 Nasdaq-100 stocks. New York Stock Exchange volume was 1.2 billion, about 400 million shares below normal. Nasdaq volume was 2.5 billion shares, a bit more than the usual 2.2 billion shares.

 

Short hits from the markets -- New York close
  Tues. Mon. Month chg. YTD chg.
Treasury yields  
13-week Treasury bill 0.170% 0.175% 30.77% 47.83%
5-year Treasury note  2.848% 2.916% 21.35% 83.62%
10-year Treasury note 3.862% 3.936% 11.46% 72.10%
30-year Treasury bond 4.692% 4.749% 8.16% 74.36%
Currencies    
U.S. Dollar Index 79.430 80.340 0.16% -3.31%
British pound $1.6559 $1.6356 2.25% 12.39%
(in U.S. $)
U.S. $ in pounds £0.6039 £0.6114 -2.20% -11.02%
Euro in dollars $1.4100 $1.3972 -0.44% 0.65%
(in U.S. $)
U.S. $ in euros € 0.7092 € 0.7157 0.44% -0.64%
U.S. $ in yen  97.83 98.22 2.63% 7.92%
Canada dollar $0.911 $0.902 -0.56% 11.43%
(in U.S. $)
U.S. dollar  $1.098 $1.109 0.56% -10.26%
(in Canadian $)
Commodities        
Gold $962.00 $954.70 -1.87% 8.79%
(per troy ounce)
Copper $2.4450 $2.3670 11.26% 73.40%
(per pound)
Silver $15.4930 $15.2250 -0.75% 34.79%
(per troy ounce)
Corn $4.4100 $4.3575 1.09% 8.35%
(per bushel)
Crude oil  $72.68 $71.33 9.61% 62.96%
(per barrel)
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