Stocks end flat; oil pulls back
The Dow gains 4, but oil drops nearly to $95 as hurricane damage to Gulf Coast energy facilities appears modest. Trading is light as investors await Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's Friday speech. Wellpoint jumps after CEO resigns.
U.S. markets finished the day with tiny gains as investors who weren't on vacation continued to wait for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to speak and for Europe to make a decision.
The major averages were little changed at today's close. The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) closed up 4 points to 13,107. As a further gauge of the quiet trading environment, the difference between the Dow's high and low today was just 63.5 points, the fifth-smallest gap of the year -- and well off the 2012 average of 148 points. And all of those narrow differences have occurred this month.
The lack of action came even as the government reported that the U.S. economy grew at a slightly better clip than thought in the second quarter, and the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales in July rose to their highest levels in two years. The market did pull back after the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report suggested the economy continued to "expand gradually" in July and early August. Several areas of the country were seeing slower growth.
Crude oil (-CL) in New York settled down 84 cents to $95.49 as reports suggested the damage to offshore oil-and-gas platforms and refineries in Louisiana isn't as bad as feared. Energy stocks were lower as well. But the national average price of gasoline was up nearly 5 cents to $3.804 a gallon from Tuesday's $3.756.
The Dow was up as much as 42 points before the Beige Book report came out. In addition to the gain for the blue chips, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 1 point to 1,410. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was up 4 points to 3,081. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), which tracks the biggest Nasdaq stocks, was up 1 point to 2,784. Apple (AAPL), the biggest influence on the Nasdaq-100, was down $1.33 to $673.47, 1.1% below its all-time high of $680.87.
Article continues below. Brent crude, however, settled up 4 cents to $112.54 a barrel in London.
Meanwhile, gold (-GC) settled down $6.70 to $1,663 an ounce in New York. The dollar was higher against major currencies, particularly the euro and the Japanese yen. Interest rates were higher with the 10-year Treasury yield rising to 1.654% from Tuesday's 1.63%.
On Thursday, the government releases its weekly report on jobless claims and reports on personal income and spending. Germany reports on unemployment, and the European Union reports on eurozone business sentiment.
The big earnings reports come from Ciena (CIEN) and Zumiez (ZUMZ) and three of Canada's largest banks: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM), National Bank of Canada (CA:NA) and the Toronto Dominion Bank (TD).
Futures trading suggests a slightly lower open on Thursday.
Pandora results cheer
After the close, shares of Pandora Media (P), the Internet-based music service, were up 82 cents, or 8.1%, to $10.90 after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results and boosted guidance for the fiscal year.
Revenue jumped 51% to $101.3 million. The company lost 3 cents a share using generally accepted accounting, up from a loss of 4 cents a year ago.
On a non-GAAP basis, it broke even, compared with 2 cents a share a year ago. Shares closed down 10 cents to $10.08 a share in regular trading.
|Energy prices -- New York close (updated) |
|Wed.||Tues.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$95.49||$96.33||8.44%||-3.38%|
|Heating oil (-HO)||$3.1224||$3.1285||9.63%||7.14%|
|Natural gas (-NG)||$2.6850||$2.6330||-16.33%||-10.17%|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|Unleaded gasoline (-RB)||$2.9168||$2.9333||5.14%||9.76%|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
The market's resilience
The good news about the market grinding as it has is that the major averages remain close to the year's highs, reached in the spring. The gains since a sell-off that ended on June 4 are holding, and the market's gains for the year are solid. The Dow is up 7.5%, with the S&P 500 up 12.3% and the Nasdaq up 18.4%.
The bad news is that the highs for the year are now offering serious resistance. Computers are, apparently, set to sell any time an index nears its high.
This makes the market vulnerable to shocks. Europe. An oil price shock if Israel really does attack Iran. A failure of a major financial institution.
Is something bad about to happen? The one question that can't really be answered is what happens between Israel and Iran. That said, the strength of the resistance levels does suggest some pullbacks ahead -- but nothing really horrible.
Here's one more thought. Financial stocks are up nearly 17% this year; they fell 57% in 2008. Moreover, the S&P 500 has had just two bad months this year. In all of 2008, it had gains in just four months.
Waiting for the central bankers to move
Bernanke's speech Friday at the Fed's annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is the immediate reason for market inaction. Europe is on hold as well. Investors are hoping the Fed chairman will offer signals on whether the Fed will start another round of so-called quantitative easing. That's the name for bond purchases designed to ensure interest rates stay low. The Fed is on record as saying it expects to keep interest rates low into late 2014.
The Fed's policy-making body, the Federal Open Market Committee, meets Sept. 12-13.
The European Central Bank is supposed to outline plans on buying distressed bonds after its Sept. 6 meeting, but that decision may wait until Sept. 12. That's when Germany's highest court is supposed to rule on whether the new European bailout fund and fiscal pact break German law. If the court says the pact isn't constitutional, financial markets would almost certainly be hit hard.
ECB President Mario Draghi, writing in the German magazine Die Zeit, suggested the ECB will be pushing for stronger coordination of fiscal and monetary policies within the eurozone -- the 17 nations that use the euro as their currency. That would be the price for the bank's buying bonds of countries like Italy, Spain and Greece.
The big worry about the coordinated fiscal requirements is that the austerity that's likely to be imposed will choke off growth for any number of years. Greece's economy has been shrinking for five straight years, and statistics suggest the eurozone now is in a recession.
Joseph A. Bank jumps; Joy Global slides
While the world waits, there is some movement in specific stocks.
Men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) surged $5.81 to $47.44 after reporting second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as sales in its direct-marketing business climbed.
Sealed Air (SEE) gained $1.58 to $14.58. The maker of Bubble Wrap hired Dow Chemical (DOW) executive Jerome Peribere to succeed Chief Executive Officer William V. Hickey, who plans to retire next year.
Joy Global (JOY), the maker of P&H and Joy mining equipment, closed up $1.36 to $54.43. The shares had slumped early in the day to as low as $49.65 after cutting forecasts for earnings and revenue. Rival Caterpillar (CAT), the world’s largest maker of construction and mining machines, also recovered from early losses, finishing up 8 cents to $86.09.
WellPoint (WLP) increased $4.41 to $61.80. Angela Braly resigned as CEO of the the second-biggest U.S. health insurer. Braly was ousted after investors, some publicly, expressed discontent with her management. A big issue was the company's spending billions of dollars on stock buybacks that did nothing for the price itself. Over the past two weeks, Jackie Ward, WellPoint’s lead independent director, and a second board member met with shareholders to hear their concerns, Bloomberg News said.
Eighteen of the 30 Dow stocks were higher, led by Verizon Communications (VZ), Walt Disney (DIS) and McDonald's (MCD). Coca-Cola (KO) and Intel (INTC) were the laggards.
Meanwhile, 276 S&P 500 stocks were higher. Sealed Air, Wellpoint and Sears Holdings (SHLD) were the leaders. First Solar (FSLR) and U.S. Steel (X) and for-profit education company Devry (DV) were the laggards.
Fifty-seven Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher, led by Warner-Chilcott (WCRX) and Sears. Chinese Internet company Baidu (BIDU) and Research In Motion (RIMM) were the laggards.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close (Updated) |
|Wed.||Tues.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.1000%||0.100%||0.00%||900.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||0.683%||0.675%||14.02%||-17.71%|
|10-year Treasury note||1.654%||1.630%||10.86%||-11.60%|
|30-year Treasury bond||2.768%||2.743%||7.41%||-4.19%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||81.564||81.381||-1.39%||1.29%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.632||£0.632||-0.97%||-1.88%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.25||$1.26||1.91%||-3.26%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.798||€ 0.796||-1.87%||3.37%|
|U.S. $ in yen||78.86||78.54||0.95%||2.29%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.37||6.35||0.24%||0.75%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$95.49||$96.33||8.44%||-3.38%|
No BOTTOM LINE.....Swaggs, is using your kind of LOGIC, we might as well get FOUR(4) more years of what we had before Obama...Because, we havn't seen anything accomplished in the time that he has been in....according to the pukes.
And we can certainly count on some "trickle down" coming to us, since we almost totally destroyed the "middle class" and the "working poor" have NOTHING...Yeah, that stuff trickling was YELLOW..
Funny the only "trickling" that seem to work, was for the "upper classes", the Elite and the 1-5%'ers;
Everyone else only got pissed on...
Sure Carter didn't accomplish much of anything, EXCEPT keep peace in the Middle East, BUT he did not destroy our Country....And the fkin Republicans in this "generation" are...
And they are offering NOTHING....except lies and bullshidt talk...
Paul Ryan talks tough = BAD, TRASH TALK, EVIL, RICH, WHITE MAN !
Obuma /Biden - LIE, MISLEAD, CREATE CLASS, RACE, GENDER WARFARE, PUT YOU BACK IN CHAINS = GOOD !!
Why, here's my middle fingers again , cretins , proudly extended to you and all things commie , cretin !
Using this kind of logic would have meant America should have never elected another Dem POTUS after Carter. I mean, according to you, Clinton was a Dem, and we know what Dem's stand for..... right?
interesting trouble when a paper like the Los Angeles Times writes an article about just how bad off we are with the public employee pension liabilities.
today they said the liability to every household in california for the pension shortfalls (what their pension "makes" in investments vs what the GUARANTEED PAYOUT covered by the state tax payer for the retired public employee) is $23,000 each.
this is just a snapshot of what the other states are seeing. our magnetude is higher by our size. but since pension contracts get coppied from state to state, expect your own to also start seeing these huge liabilities.
You are joining in in attempting to mislead the choice at hand."
I disagree completely. The GOP move as a single terror unit. Romney has flip flopped so much he has dug himself a very deep hole. Ryan trash talked last night. We all HATE trash talk so what did he say that would make the average voter okay with him? Not one damn thing. Romney will give us more of the same. I LAUGH at your refusal to tie the first generation Bush, second and these two goofballs together under the same adverse agenda... New World Order. the whole WORLD knows we're being controlled and manipulated into it. None of us will go willingly.
Romney. Tonight. LISTEN for solutions, not trash talk. "I will do A, it will cost B, and do C". That's the formula he has YET to put together. Eliminate the Healthcare Act on DAY ONE. Reckless and foolish. Create jobs. Will any be over $8/hour? 100% of current business areas where there were terminations are doing better since. Will HE acknowledge that and offer job recovery? I don't think so. HE robo-signed homes into foreclosure at Bain. How does a guy talk about that now that it's one of the top issues? Offshore accounts? Neither Romney OR Ryan talked about the role (or lack of it) of Congress these past 4 years. CONGRESS destroyed America, Obama didn't. Will he be talking about that?
I doubt it. I expect trash talk and no acknowledgement of deception by his party. These things we know already to be true, thus making Romney-- phony.
No more Bushes. No more Clinton's (Hillary is retiring her position, right?).
You are joining in in attempting to mislead the choice at hand.
We seem to be listing Obama's accomplishments or shortcomings..And I'm just kind of curious.
Being that we have an important election coming up,(they are all important)....Maybe we should list all the accomplishments and shortcomings of the Republicans that held the Whitehouse for eight years, before Obama came along...Then we might have a basis, for a judgement call in voting.
What did Bush and the Republicans do, for those eight years ??
If it was very bad or not good for America...Why would we be stupid enough to repeat it.??
After all, everyone either wants to run on the record, or past performances..
If not this summer , when was it?
Last summer , I don't think so?
The summer before last?
You know , the summer, we were going to get "500,000 NEW jobs per month, EVERY month"?
RING ANY BELLS?
What happened to that, rant?
Why isn't dear leader, talking up the summer of recovery on his lie trail (I mean "campaign" trail) ?
4 summers = ZERO recovery, a net LOSS of jobs = No Bama in the Fall !
BYE BYE DEAR LEADER, you will NOT be missed
Paul Ryan just kicked a$$, last night.
Reduced Obuma to the pathetic, lost on earth, rudderless, Sambo he really is !
Contrast that to "They're gonna put you in chains, again" Biden.
It's going to be A$$$ WHIPPIN in Nov
The commies are gong to get run outta town !
cashing in while we break our backs doing the 9-5 routine.
Several analysts and economists are unhappy with the week's stagnation. Basically, the markets no longer function and obviously, money grubbing is a poor profession for the health of the United States of America. Neither Europe or America can sustain another money printing to salvage financial play. That said, Congress is dead. I don't see the government stepping in to do the right things like:
Close the banks. End the Federal Reserve. Get rid of Wall Street. Invest 100% in job recovery so we can restore stability, or we won't be here by the New Year.
Democrats and intelligent and informed Independents will make sure that Romney becomes a ZERO TERM President. America will be saying NO to the Republicans in November. Americans saying NO to the Party of NO! What goes around, comes around! I LOVE IT!
Barack Obama in 2012!
Chris Van Hollen in 2016 & 2020!
You go ahead and be an obedient and submissive little controled sheep and pay your $51,000, I on the other hand, owe NOTHING and will pay NOTHING.
Thanks for sharing your moronic post,..... NOT!
As far as the number that I find most useful is the debt per citizen figure. This is the amount each of us owes on behalf of our federal government.
When Bush took office Clinton left each of us owing $20,000.
After eight years of Bush the amount was swollen to $33,000.
Now after nearly four years of Obama we all owe $51.000 apiece.
I did not co-sign for this debt and don't like the fact that the above mentioned clowns have roped us and our progeny into it.
The Democrats have a very short memory and here I go asking what Obama has accomplished that he promised in 2008.........AND THIS CENTURY
Troops out of Iraq. Done ......................................................MOPE, Iraq is still a nation at war
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 ended this week with a bang, roaring to a new all-time high on the back of stronger-than-expected economic data, influential leadership, and an ongoing appreciation for the Fed's monetary policy support.
The bullish bias was evident in premarket action as the S&P futures pointed to a higher start without the benefit of any definitive news catalyst. Stocks indeed benefited from a blast of buying interest at the opening bell on this ... More
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