Bulls Stay Away Ahead of Fed, but Stocks Hold Multi-Year Peaks
Despite a few mid-session runs north of breakeven, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) buckled into negative territory during a very low-volume session.
“There really wasn’t much to talk about today,” remarked Schaeffer’s Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. “The market continues to trade sideways while many participants await the Federal Reserve’s meeting this week. Basic materials stocks continued to outperform, as the sector benefits from China’s plan to increase infrastructure spending.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,254.29) was off more than 55 points at its intraday low of 13,251.39, and found a perch just above this area by the end of the session.
When all was said and done, the Dow was down 52.4 points, or 0.4%. Nineteen of the 30 blue chips retreated today, with Intel Corporation’s ( INTC ) 3.8% dive pacing the losing issues. Conversely, the 11 outperformers were led higher by Hewlett-Packard Company’s ( HPQ ) 0.9% gain.
Both the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,429.08) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,104.02) headed south for the day as well. Although the SPX touched a new four-year best of 1,438.74 this morning, the index ended lower by 8.8 points, or 0.6%. Meanwhile, the COMP sawed off 32.4 points, or 1%, but was able to notch a third consecutive settlement atop the 3,100 level.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 16.28) climbed to a victory for the first day in five, gaining 1.9 points, or 13.2%.
“Probably the best thing about today is that it’s finally over,” said Bell. “There wasn’t much to analyze, as the market didn’t move much and volume was absolutely laughable.”
Crude futures spent a large part of the day in the red, thanks to disappointing trade data out of China. However, as traders look forward to this week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the possibility of new economic stimulus, the commodity eked out a win. October-dated oil inched up 12 cents, or 0.1%, to land at $96.54 a barrel.
After rising more than 3% last week, gold futures took a break as speculators cashed in their profits. Ahead of the Fed’s meeting, gold for December delivery dipped $8.70, or 0.5%, to end at $1,731.80 an ounce.