Market Meanders Ahead of Fed Minutes
U.S. equities eked out small gains Wednesday, the day before the Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes from its two-day meeting. The S&P 500 added three points, or 0.2 percent, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 10 points, or less than 0.1 percent.
The Nasdaq could only muster a gain of about 10 points, a third of a percent, despite the debut of Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone 5. Shares of Apple, the world's largest company by market value, climbed 1.4 percent and closed just pennies of the highest levels of the day.
While the new iPhone is lighter, thinner with a bigger screen and increased speeds, the phone may be "guilty" of only meeting analysts' and investors' expectations rather than exceeding them. However, it is worth noting Apple shares have had a tendency to languish immediately following major product announcements only to rally thereafter.
Still, the new iPhone has the potential to be a major driver of Apple's stock price going forward. David Garrity of GVA Research said 60 million or more units could ship before year-end.
In other stock-specific news, shares of apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) jumped 5.4 percent on volume that was more than quadruple the daily average after it was reported the company hired Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). Abercrombie's reason for hiring the bank is not yet known, but there is speculation the firm made the move due to pressure from an activist investor.
Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) closed modestly higher after the semiconductor maker narrowed its third-quarter revenue guidance to $3.27-$3.41 billion from $3.21-$3.47 billion. The company raised its EPS forecast to 38-42 cents from 34-42 cents. Analysts are expecting earnings of 38 cents per share on revenue of $3.34 billion.
Shares of data storage provider Xyratex (NASDAQ: XRTX) tumbled 10.2 percent on volume that was more than double the daily average after the company lowered its third-quarter revenue guidance to $271-$276 million from previous guidance of $313-$373 million. Analysts are expecting revenue of $344.5 million.
Ahead of the FOMC minutes, commodities ETFs were mixed as the iShares Gold Trust (NYSE: IAU) closed slightly higher, but the U.S. Oil Fund (NYSE: USO) settled fractionally lower. The PowerShares DB Dollar Bullish (NYSE: UUP) closed slightly lower on heavy volume.
The Fed will probably announce a third round of bond purchases tomorrow, according to almost two-thirds of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
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