More of the same in Washington, D.C., kept stocks around breakeven, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) flirting with both gains and losses throughout the day. The fiscal-cliff sound bite du jour came courtesy of White House spokesman Jay Carney, who called the Republicans' latest budget proposal "magic beans and fairy dust." Meanwhile, "We have the potential of getting a deal done," President Barack Obama told Bloomberg TV, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged the commander-in-chief to get more involved. Against this familiar backdrop, and with a lack of economic news to go on, the major market indexes suffered modest losses by the close.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) didn't stray too far in either direction, ending 13.8 points, or 0.1%, lower. However, the blue-chip barometer maintained a perch atop its 10-day moving average. Among the Dow's 30 components, 14 finished higher, led by Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE:HPQ) 5.1% advance. On the other hand, Home Depot (NYSE:HD) paced the bearish majority, shedding 1.1%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also finished just south of breakeven, surrendering 2.4 points, or 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) gave up 5.5 points, or 0.2%, to end its three-session run atop the 3,000 level.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) tacked on nearly 3%, toppling the 17 level for the first time since Nov. 15.
A Trader's Take
"There was really no major news -- and Wall Street acted like it," said Detrick. "The market seems to simply be taking a pause near various big, round-number levels, like the Nasdaq 3,000, SPX 1,400, and Dow 13,000. It was a nice day to get caught up on some other work, because there wasn't much movement."
Honing in on specific sectors, "Housing was disappointing," he said. "Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) came out with great earnings and the entire group gapped higher, yet, by the end of the day, all the stocks were well off their highs. We've been bullish on housing all year, but I'm beginning to notice a lot of bulls showing up to the party all of a sudden."
Economic and Earnings News
There were no economic reports of note today.
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For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
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