Markets Consolidate, but Dow Muscles Higher

Steven Bobson, Europe & Americas Editor
September 20, 2012 /

“FedEx Corporation ( FDX ) came out and lowered its guidance, which may affect several industries and companies throughout the world,” noted Schaeffer’s Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell.

“The market was relatively flat and we once again saw a lot of the consumer staples and defensive names lead for the day, while consumer discretionary stocks and housing related companies struggled.”

Throughout the see-saw session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) battled hard to maintain a perch atop newfound support at 13,500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,564.64) began trading at its session low of 13,517.81, and then ran to its intraday high of 13,582.12 just before midday. After that, though, the Dow wavered on either side of breakeven until lifting 11.5 points, or roughly 0.1%, by the closing bell. Seventeen of the 30 components turned lower, with Alcoa Inc.’s ( AA ) analyst-induced 0.9% decline leading the way. Conversely, a 1.8% rise from Kraft Foods Inc ( KFT ) paced the 13 outperforming blue chips.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,459.32) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,177.80) traveled a similar path into negative territory, briefly eclipsing the breakeven line earlier in the session. By the time the dust settled, the SPX fell 1.9 points, or 0.1%, while the COMP relinquished a fraction of a point.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 14.18) also headed south today, giving back 0.4 point, or 2.8%, to finish just atop its intraday low of 14.17.

“There wasn’t much to cheer about,” remarked Bell. “The markets continued to consolidate after last week’s QE3-related rally.”

On the heels of a mysterious sell-off in the last minutes of trading on Monday , oil futures stayed south for a second straight session. By the close, October-dated crude sawed off $1.33, or 1.4%, to end at $95.29 a barrel. This marked the commodity’s worst settlement since Aug 31.

Not many speculators returned to gold futures today, as the malleable metal was little changed by the closing bell. Gold for December delivery inched higher by 60 cents, or roughly 0.1%, to end at $1,771.20 an ounce.


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