Stocks gain modestly as oil tops $109, rates rise
The Dow finishes up 33 as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft rally. Apple sags. Bed Bath & Beyond shares jump on strong 4th-quarter results. Gold briefly tops $1,460. But metals and chemical stocks fall back.
Updated: 10:45 p.m. ET
Investors in the stock market stared at soaring prices for gold and crude oil, rising interest rates and the real possibility of a government shutdown in the United States.
And despite all that, they pushed the market higher, with much of the gains coming in the last hour of trading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) closed up 33 points to 12,427. The blue chips had been up as many as 57 points in the morning but saw the gain slide to just 7 points at noon ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 3 points to 1,336. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was up 9 points to 2,800.
The market's performance wasn't uniform. Leaders include semiconductor, computer hardware, financial and utility stocks. Airline stocks were lower as crude oil briefly topped $109 a barrel. So were energy and metals stocks.
The market's performance came as interest rates were moving higher in advance of an expected interest-rate hike by the European Central Bank on Thursday. The move is likely to add pressure to calls for the Federal Reserve to end its bond-purchase program and possibly raise rates as well. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.549% this afternoon, up from Tuesday's 3.483% and the highest level since March 8.
Gold jumped again today, hitting a record $1,463.70 an ounce in New York trading before dropping back to settle at $1,45.50. That's still up $6 on the day -- and a record close.
Article continues below.
Silver settled at $39.387 an ounce, up 20.4 cents, or 0.5%. Silver had reached $39.785, a 31-year high. Copper jumped 10.6 cents, or 2.5%, to $4.37 a pound.
Crude oil, meanwhile, settled up 49 cents to $108.83 a barrel after peaking earlier in the day at $109.14. The pullback came after a government report showed domestic oil supplies were larger than expected. Crude is up 19.1% for the year.
The national average price of gasoline was $3.707 a gallon, up 2.2 cents from Tuesday and up 17.4% for the year.
Brent crude was off 2 cents to $122.20 a barrel in London. It is still up nearly 29% on the year.
Bed Bath & Beyond has a big quarter
After the close, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares were up 9.5% to $54.10. The home furnishings retailer said it earned $1.12 a share in its fiscal-fourth quarter, up from 86 cents a share a year ago. The results beat the Street consensus of 97 cents by 15 cents.
Revenue was up 11.6% to $2.5 billion and beat the Street estimate by $100 million.
The company sees 58 cents to 61 cents in fiscal-first quarter earnings. The consensus estimate is 59 cents. The company's outlook is another confirmation of recovering consumer spending, analyst Brian Sozzi of Wall Street Strategies told Reuters.
Energy and materials shares slip
Despite the commodity price gains, metals and energy shares were mostly lower.
Coal producers Peabody Energy (BTU) and Massey Energy (MEE) were the second- and third-worst S&P 500 performers, down 3.7% to $69.56 and 3.5% to $67.59, respectively. Exxon Mobil (XOM) was off 0.3% to $85.18. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) was off 0.6% to $56.25. Newmont Mining (NEM) dropped 0.9% to $56.45.
Crude's gain hit transportation shares. United Continental Holdings (UAL), American Airlines parent AMR (AMR) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) were the laggards in the Dow Jones Transportation Average ($DJT), which was up slightly to 5,344.
In addition, chemical stocks were lower because they face higher energy costs. Dow Chemical (DOW) was off 0.4% to $38.49. DuPont (DD) fell slightly to $56.02.
Futures trading suggests U.S. stocks will open slightly higher on Thursday. Earnings results are due from Pep Boys (PBY), Constellation Brands (STZ) and Pier 1 Imports (PIR). Japanese stocks were higher in early trading.
|Energy prices -- New York close|
|Wed.||Tues.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|(per mil. BTU)|
|(per gallon; AAA)|
Techs have another strong day
It wasn't a bad day for technology stocks. Three of the top six Dow leaders were tech issues, with Cisco Systems (CSCO) the leader, up 4.9% to $18.07. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was second, up 2.2% to $41.18, with Microsoft (MSFT) up 1.4% to $26.15. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)
Cisco and Microsoft were higher in part because their weights in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X) will increase on May 1, and managers of funds that track the index will have to hold more of the shares. Cisco was the Nasdaq-100's leader today as well.
The index, however, was up 4 points to 2,332.
In addition, Cisco was higher because of a perception that the company is going to come under attack by shareholder activists over the poor performance of its stock in the last year or so. The shares were off 15.5% in 2010 and are off nearly 12% this year. CEO John Chambers admitted the company's performance has been disappointing and, in a memo sent out Tuesday, said the company will "fix the portfolio."
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index ($SOX) was up 7 points to 446. That's probably a continuing reaction to Texas Instruments' (TXN) acquisition of National Semiconductor (NSM). Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was the leader of the index, up 4% to $8.43.
In addition, Oppenheimer and D.A. Davidson both upgraded Broadcom (BRCM) to "buy." Shares were up 3.9% to $39.95.
Apple (AAPL) was off 0.3% to $338.04, its sixth straight decline.
Twenty-one of the 30 Dow stocks were higher, along with 61 Nasdaq-100 stocks.
Cisco, American Express (AXP),andJPMorgan Chase (JPM)were the Dow leaders, with Caterpillar (CAT), Pfizer (PFE), Chevron (CVX) and and Walt Disney (DIS) the laggards.
After Cisco, the Nasdaq-100 leaders were Broadcom and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG). The laggards were Citrix Systems (CTXS), down 3.3% to $73.18, and Baidu (BIDU) down 3.1% to $137.25.
Leaders and laggards
NYSE Euronext (NYX) rose 2.1% to $39.81. The operator of the New York Stock Exchange and exchanges in Europe is "absolutely not" considering a counterbid for Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ), Reuters reported. French daily Les Echos earlier reported that NYSE Euronext was considering a possible hostile counterbid, citing unidentified bankers. Nasdaq OMX was up 3% to $28.83.
Idex (IEX), up 0.3% to $45.29. The maker of Jaws of Life rescue equipment raised its quarterly dividend to 17 cents a share from 15 cents. The increase was expected.
Zumiez (ZUMZ), up 27% to $28.05. The retailer based in Everett, Wash., was raised to "overweight" from "neutral" at Piper Jaffray & Co.
Cephalon (CEPH), down 0.5% to $77.02. The biotech company rejected ValeantPharmaceuticals International’s (VRX) unsolicited $5.7 billion bid, saying the offer is "opportunistic" and undervalues the company’s marketed and experimental medicines.
Netflix (NFLX, down 1.7% to $239.97. The mail-order and online movie-rental service agreed with Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) to obtain exclusive Internet streaming rights to the first four seasons of the TV series "Mad Men."
|Short hits from the markets -- New York close|
|Wed.||Tues.||Month chg.||YTD chg.|
|13-week Treasury bill||0.060%||0.070%||-33.33%||-50.00%|
|5-year Treasury note||2.313%||2.272%||3.96%||14.73%|
|10-year Treasury note||3.549%||3.483%||2.75%||7.38%|
|30-year Treasury bond||4.585%||4.511%||1.71%||5.11%|
|U.S. Dollar Index||75.757||76.111||-0.41%||-4.45%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in pounds||£0.612||£0.613||-1.86%||-4.49%|
|Euro in dollars||$1.433||$1.422||1.16%||7.14%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|U.S. $ in euros||€ 0.698||€ 0.703||-1.15%||-6.66%|
|U.S. $ in yen||85.616||85.140||2.74%||5.22%|
|U.S. $ in Chinese||6.569||6.538||-0.04%||-0.70%|
|(in U.S. $)|
|(in Canadian $)|
|(per troy ounce)|
|(per troy ounce)|
Even if fighting in the middle east ceased, the speculators would still find a reason to jack up oil prices. Some excuses they would use:
1) Someone in the middle east has hemroids and not sure when it might heal, it make take an extra day or two than normal.
2) There is 5% chance possible of a sprinkle of rain on the gulf coast.
3) Someone in the middle east wiped their **** with rough toilet paper.
4) Someone in the middle east spit in the wind.
5) Some specualtor needs to buy a new boat.
6) Someone needs to pad Obamanomics pocket, payment is due.
7) Someone in the middle east needs their turban washed and pressed.
Real World- You forgot a couple of reasons:
- GE needs Obama to keep subsidizing inefficient windmills;
- Obama's buddy George Soros needs the US to buy his Brazillian oil;
- Our representitives are padding their pockets on oil investments and won't repeal Gramm -Rudman to force traders to take physical possession of commodities;
- Printing press Ben wants the dollar devalued while he makes a fortune in foreign markets.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market continues to struggle to find direction. The major indices are mixed with the Nasdaq drawing its main sponsorship from Apple (AAPL 103.16, +0.66), which is trading right through reports its iCloud service was hacked.
Otherwise, today's prominent price action has been reserved for the commodity and Treasury markets, both of which have looked weak since the get go and neither of which have shown any effort to reverse the negative pricing tide ... More
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