Dow Settles Wishy-Washy Wednesday with Minor Gain
“It’s still all about Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s end-of-week speech in Jackson Hole,” said Schaeffer’s Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick.
“We’re a day closer to hearing what the central banker has to say — and it was a day of very little action, thank goodness.”
In yet another lightly traded session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent time on both sides of breakeven, but relatively encouraging economic and housing data helped the blue-chip barometer finish in the black.
After exploring a range of more than 63 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,107.48) settled on a slim gain of 4.5 points, or 0.03%, but ended its third straight session south of its 20-day moving average.
Eighteen of the Dow’s 30 components finished in the black, led by Verizon Communications Inc.’s ( VZ ) 1% advance. On the flip side, The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ) led the 12 laggards, swallowing a loss of 1.4%.
In similar fashion, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,410.49) finished a wishy-washy session with a minute lead, tacking on 1.2 points, or 0.1%.
Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,081.19) struggled to pick a direction, but added 4.1 points, or 0.1%, by the close. What’s more, the tech-rich COMP settled at its loftiest closing price since early April.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 17.06) extended its recent uptrend, adding 0.6 point, or 3.5%. Furthermore, the market’s “fear barometer” conquered its 50-day trendline for just the second session since mid-June.
“We had more positive economic data, as both the second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) and July housing reports came in better than expected, and the Fed’s Beige Book pointed to ‘gradual’ economic growth,” said Detrick.
“There are lots of bears out there opining that this market is only going up on hopes of ‘QE3,’ but I’d like to point out that stocks are near five-year highs on improving economic data. We continue to think housing is leading us, and today’s data reinforces that we could see continually improving economic data through the remainder of the year.”
Crude futures finished lower today, as traders responded to an unexpected jump in domestic inventories. Additionally, Gulf-based oil production is expected to bounce back quickly from Hurricane Isaac, which further diminished supply concerns. October-dated oil ended on a drop of 84 cents, or 0.9%, at $95.49 per barrel.
Gold futures also faltered, with the precious metal continuing to retreat from Monday’s four-month high. However, uncertainty ahead of Friday’s highly anticipated address from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke kept gold’s losses to a minimum. Gold for December delivery backpedaled $6.70, or 0.4%, to finish at $1,663 per ounce.