With traders on hold, stocks end flat
The Dow's 53-point gain slips away as traders hope for stimulus moves from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Apple surges on reports the new iPhone will debut in mid-September. Natural gas and corn prices jump.
The stock market saw a two-day winning streak stall today as global markets waited nervously to see what the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve may do to prop up Europe and stimulate the U.S. economy.
The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) ended lower for the ninth straight Monday, something that last occurred in 1973.
The hope is that the ECB will make good on the pledge by President Mario Draghi last week to do "whatever it takes" to ensure the euro currency survives. The ECB's governing board meets Thursday. The Fed, meanwhile, starts a two-day meeting on Tuesday, with concerns building that the softening domestic economy may need more support. The Labor Department reports July payrolls and unemployment on Friday.
The pullback also reflects an unease created by what have been disappointing earnings. Apple (AAPL) missed estimates, but shares moved higher today. Facebook's (FB) first quarterly report raised more questions than it answered. Shares fell 56 cents to $23.15.
The Dow closed down 3 points to 13,073 after rising as many as 53 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was off 1 point to 1,385, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was off 12 points to 2,946. The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) was off 5 points to 2,642.
Article continues below. Tuesday brings the government's June report on personal income and spending. Also there are reports on consumer confidence for the month and the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index.
Futures trading suggests a positive open as hopes build for more Fed easing.
A small gain for markets in July
With a day to go in July, the Dow is up 1.5% for the month, with the S&P 500 up 1.7% and the Nasdaq up 0.4%. The Dow has risen six out of seven months this year and is up about 7% for 2012. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have risen five out of seven months, with the S&P 500 up 10.2% for the year and the Nasdaq up 13.1%.
Despite that cheery picture of the market to date, the anxiety is very large, especially after Draghi's big pledge to support the euro. If he can't do something for southern Europe -- and you will see it Thursday if there is only a modest change in rates and no program to buy or otherwise support Spanish and Italian bonds -- there could be a nasty sell-off for markets in Europe and elsewhere.
The problem for the ECB is that Germany has resisted aggressive moves by the ECB and may yet do so this week. But failure to protect Spain and Italy "would tip the entire global system into a downward spin, triggering the sort of feedback loop that caused such havoc in late 2008," Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote today in the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London.
Likewise, investors who follow the Fed are trying to divine if there's enough support among Fed governors and the six presidents of regional Federal Reserve banks to try a new round of economic stimulus.
To be fair, the Fed's ability to stimulate the economy is limited with short-term interest rates hovering barely above 0%.
To add to this week's stress are important reports on home prices, the health of the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors of the economy and, of course, Friday's jobs report, the most important economic report of the month.
The European crisis has had a number of perverse effects. It has set off a flight of investment capital into U.S. Treasury securities, pushing domestic interest rates lower. That flight has also pushed the dollar up enough that it is a big reason why the current earnings season has been frustrating.
Meanwhile, only 40% of companies have beaten revenue estimates this earnings season, Thomson Reuters says. The typical rate is 63%. If the trend continues, it will be only the fourth time in the past 10 years where fewer than half the companies reporting fail to beat estimates. A big reason is sales generated by companies outside the United States are worth less when translated into dollars.
An iPhone 5 announcement in September?
Apple was providing the Nasdaq-100 some strong support. The shares were up $9.87 to $595.03 on speculation the company will introduce its new iPhone 5 and possibly a smaller version of the iPad device next month.
The iMore blog said there would be a big media event to introduce the new iPhone and the mini-iPad on Sept. 12, with iPhone sales starting nine days later.
That announcement date is a little earlier than expected and may have been pushed up to help Apple's fiscal-fourth-quarter results.
There's a lot of Apple news: The company's patent infringement suit against Samsung started today. And The New York Times reported over the weekend that Apple was considering investing in Twitter.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Mon.||Fri.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$89.78||$90.13||5.67%||-9.16%|
|Heating oil (-HO)||$2.8814||$2.8905||6.33%||-1.13%|
|Natural gas (-NG)||$3.2140||$3.0150||13.81%||7.53%|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|Unleaded gasoline (-RB)||$2.8184||$2.7967||7.09%||6.06%|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
Chicago Bridge to buy Shaw Group
There was a big deal in the energy world. Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) said it was buying the Shaw Group (SHAW) for about $3 billion. The result would be one of the biggest engineering and construction companies in the energy sector. Shaw was up $14.80 to $41.49. Chicago Bridge & Iron was off $5.76 to $34.94.
Shares of Peet's Coffee (PEET) were up 33 cents to $75.50 -- $2 above the $73.50 buyout price offered by Joh. A. Benckiser, a German holding company. Wall Street is betting on a better offer ahead. Speculation suggests Starbucks (SBUX) might come in with a bid of $80 a share. Starbucks was off 59 cents to $46.88.
Best Buy (BBY) added 30 cents to $18.06 after shooting up to as high as $18.80. Bloomberg News reported that founder Richard Schulze has been recruiting executives to help lead the retailer if his attempt to take the company private is successful.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) fell 75 cents to $36.14 as Deutsche Bank analysts cut their recommendation on the stock to "hold" from "buy." Matt O'Conner and David Ho said in a note to clients that regulators may not let the company resume its stock-repurchase program this year after a trading loss of at least $5.8 billion.
General Motors (GM) shares were off 31 cents to $19.36 in part because of the ouster of marketing chief Joel Ewanick on Sunday. Ewanick had been in charge of a $5.4 billion advertising budget. GM is expected to report second-quarter results on Thursday and has warned that its European operations are suffering major losses because of the contracting economy. GM shares are off 24.6% since the end of March and are down nearly 50% since going public in 2010.
Chrysler Group said today that second-quarter operating income more than doubled, aided by improving conditions in the U.S. auto industry and relatively little exposure in troubled Europe. The company earned $436 million, up from the $181 million reported last year before the automaker took a charge related to paying off its federal bailout loan. Because of that charge, the company reported a $370 million net loss.
Revenue jumped 23% to $16.8 billion. Cars and trucks sold worldwide rose 20% to 582,000. However, about 75% of its auto sales occur in the United States, making it by far the most U.S.-centric automaker. The company is majority-owned by Italian automaker Fiat (FIATY).
Natural gas jumps; corn hits a new high
Crude oil (-CL) finished down 35 cents to $89.78. Natural gas (-NG), up 19.9 cents, or 6.6%, to $3.192 per million British thermal units, was among the top-performing commodities today on expectations of continuing hot summer weather in much of the country boosting electricity demand to run air conditioners.
Gold (-GC) settled up $1.70 to $1,619.70 an ounce. Silver (-SI) was higher. Copper fell slightly to $3.416 a pound.
The spot price for corn (-ZC) hit a new high of $8.23 a bushel because of drought concerns before settling at $8.20. Corn for December delivery -- the contract with the greatest activity -- closed up 20.75 cents to $8.14 a bushel.
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Mon.||Fri.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.1000%||0.100%||25.00%||900.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||0.618%||0.661%||-15.23%||-25.54%|
|10-year Treasury note||1.504%||1.555%||-9.34%||-19.62%|
|30-year Treasury bond||2.579%||2.642%||-6.66%||-10.73%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||82.868||82.765||1.36%||2.91%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.636||£0.635||-0.06%||-1.12%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.23||$1.23||-2.87%||-5.37%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.816||€ 0.813||2.95%||5.68%|
|U.S. $ in yen||78.31||78.49||-1.80%||1.57%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.40||6.38||0.45%||1.19%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|Crude oil (-CL)||$89.78||$90.13||5.67%||-9.16%|
V_L: Duya was NOT a Conservative!
The vast majority against Obama are not for Bush! Look how many voted for "change", and got Bush/Democratic policies on steroids!
Bailouts, wars, deficits, regulations, lobbyists! All CONTINUED after 09' and have actually INCREASED! When we heard "change" we wanted a REDUCTION, not an INCREASE!
Romney and Obama are playing poker, neither one of them has any face cards. I think Joe the plummer has the Royal Flush. I'll fold.
It is interesting to see the WS weekday news cycles manufactured to move stocks higher or lower depending of who is getting fleeced that day while they wait for the next heroin drip from Uncle Ben and the President's market pumping cabal. Up 200 down 200 yada yada, euro saved/doomed - Jobs reports BS - earnings (the only thing that should really count for much on WS) etc,etc while the system does rinse and repeat cycles on small investors. No wonder they have left the market in droves. Now the big shots get to play with each other and laugh at the SEC. What a world.
Obama or Romney decisions decisions who to vote for, in fours years we will still be asking the same question: Who voted for that idiot?
To wrongs still don't make a right, do the math!
IF THERE IS A STIMULUS BY THE FED LET IT BE FREE MONEY FOR THE PEOPLE TO SPEND BECAUSE THE LAST STIMULUS WENT TO THE BANKS AND BIG CORPS WHO HAVE MADE RECORD PROFITS OFF THOSE WHO RECEIVED NO STIMULUS, AND WHAT THEY DID RECEIVE WAS KEPT IN THEIR COFFERS AND/OR GIVEN FREELY TO THEIR EXECS AND CEOS
IF THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE TRICKLE DOWN OF THE STIMULUS FUNDS FROM THE TOP, THEN LET THE NEW STIMULUS FUNDS TRICKLE UP FROM THE BOTTOM
Gee guys what do you want the Federal Reserve to keep pumping trillions of dollars into the hands of the Wall Street bankers so they can put a couple of thousand dollars into stocks??
Listen if the stock market can only rally when there is talk the Federal Reserve will dump trillions into the stock market shouldn't that tell you that the market is over priced by a factor of like 100.
Here we are. Waiting on stimulus packages from both Europe and the U.S.A.
I have heard nothing but complaints from so many about how the government should never have
bailed and stimulated(one in the same in my book) and yet here we are praying that the
Fed and the European Central Bank will do just that so the market can go up.
I was for stimulus, not bailouts, until they started giving the money to the banks and the
state and local governemnts along with some large businesses. Those were bailouts,
The only stimulus that went where it should have gone, directly into the hands of the American
people so they could decide who was to big to fail, was from Bush. He got that one right. Well only half right because he started the trap project also.
The government has gone trillions MORE in debt and accomplished little. They stopped the slide
and created some jobs, but not the kind that will sustain growth, balance the budget, and
reduce the debt.
The sad part is, where would be without it?
When will these governments learn to stop trying to prop things up and get their spending in order. Printing presses and borrowing are NOT the solution!!
Let's see, the market is right back where it was. Why do we need any more stimulus? Clearly there is enough cheap capital floating around to prop this market up without introducing any more.
The solution should be in government action, not in monetary policy. Our government is arguing over the color of the curtains while the house is on fire. Fiscal cliff approaching!
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