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Economic News, Earnings Fuel Modest Losses in US Stocks

Oil settles lower as inventories rise to a historical peak

by 4/23/2014 4:23:54 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) inched into the black in early trading Wednesday, but spent the lion's share of the session wallowing south of breakeven, as traders digested a number of high-profile earnings reports and weighed the latest economic data points. "There were a slew of earnings reports," Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, noted. "The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) beat estimates, but Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) delivered a high-profile miss. In the end, it was a slightly red day, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) snapped its winning streak. Still, when you consider the S&P was up six days in a row coming into today, a slightly lower day isn't anything to get too upset over."

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,501.65) traded in a relatively narrow 49-point range today before settling on a loss of 12.7 points, or 0.1%. Fresh from a positive earnings surprise, Boeing led the 11 Dow advancers with a gain of 2.4%, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) brought up the rear, shedding 3.8% after its own earnings report.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,875.39) brought its winning streak to a close, ending the day with a loss of 4.2 points, or 0.2%. After outperforming the last two days, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,126.97) faltered more than its index peers, slipping 34.5 points, or 0.8%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.27) spent the entire day in the green, reaching as high as 13.75 before settling with a gain of 0.1 point, or 0.6%.



A Trader's Take:

"The market shook off a weak report on new home data," noted Detrick. "The next two days are two of the heaviest days with companies reporting earnings, so get ready. All in all, earnings have come in better than the lowered expectations, and that is a big reason for the market's recent strength. Still, be on your toes, as a few high-profile misses could bring the bears back in a hurry."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. New home sales took quite a tumble in March, dropping 14.5% from February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 385,000. Economists were expecting a slight increase month-over-month, but the reading was negatively impacted due to higher mortgage rates and harsh winter weather. (USA Today)
  2. Markit's preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI) reading inched to 55.4 in April from 55.5 at the end of March. (Readings north of 50 are indicative of expansion.) The new orders and exports readings showed strength, while employment was moderately weaker. (MarketWatch)
  3. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) said its adjusted first-quarter profits rose 14%, exceeding analysts' expectations. The aircraft name also lifted its outlook for the full year to between $7.15 per share and $7.35 per share. (Reuters)
  4. Wall Street expressed mixed emotions toward AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) following Ma Bell's turn in the earnings confessional.
  5. General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) call buyers are taking advantage of historically low option prices.

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

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