Market Wrap for Wednesday, March 13: Stocks Record Small Gains Mid-Week
The U.S. stock market remained in consolidation mode on Wednesday as investors digest the current sharp uptrend.
Although the euro traded through the $1.30 level to the downside on the session, investors remained bullish on share prices. All of the major averages finished in positive territory, but the gains were small. The S&P 500 has now climbed around 9 percent in 2013 and the investing landscape continues to look favorable going forward.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose around 5 points, or 0.04 percent, to 14,455.
The S&P 500 added around 2 points, or 0.13 percent, to close just above 1,554.
The Nasdaq rose a little less than 3 points, or 0.09 percent, to 3,245.
Retail sales figures came in above consensus expectations for the month of February. Retail sales for the period rose 1.1 percent compared to an increase of 0.2 percent for January. This beat estimates calling for a gain of 0.5 percent.
Business inventories rose 1 percent in January compared to an increase of 0.3 percent for December. This was well ahead of consensus expectations calling for an increase of 0.3 percent.
Late in Tuesday's trading session, NYMEX crude futures had fallen 0.26 percent to $92.30 while Brent crude was down around 1.26 percent to $108.28. Natural gas added around 1 percent on the day to $3.68.
Precious metals were slightly weaker on the session. At last check, COMEX gold futures had lost 0.23 percent to $1,588.10. Silver was last trading down around 0.79 percent to $28.94.
In the agricultural complex, most commodities traded lower, but wheat climbed a little less than 1 percent. At last check, corn was down 0.46 percent. In soft commodities, cotton climbed around 1.50 percent and coffee futures lost more than 1 percent on the day.
Nearing the close of equities, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) was down around 0.10 percent to $115.58. Yields were largely unchanged on the day.
The only change in Treasury yields was a one basis point rise in the 5-Year Note yield to 0.88 percent.
The U.S. Dollar rose on Wednesday. Near the close, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, had risen 0.44 percent to $22.60.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair broke through support on the day and was last trading down 0.54 percent to $1.2960.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX fell on Wednesday after jumping better than 6 percent on Tuesday. The VIX lost 2.69 percent to close at 11.94 on the session.
Volume remained light as investors seem content to hold onto positions. Around 74 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares traded hands on the day versus a 3-month daily average of 132 million.
Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR) had jumped around 8 percent nearing the close as investors speculate the company will benefit from the trend to legalize online gambling.
Shares of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SPPI) lost more than 37 percent late on Tuesday after the company issued weak revenue guidance.
National Financial Partners (NYSE: NFP) rose around 10 percent after the company said that it is exploring a sale.
Prudential (NYSE: PUK) had climbed almost 10 percent near the the close after the company released bullish quarterly results.
MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE: WFR) fell more than 13 percent after a disappointing fiscal 2013 outlook.
Shares of IAMGOLD (NYSE: IAG) lost more than 8 percent on Wednesday. The reason for the volatility was not immediately evident.
VMware (NYSE: VMW) jumped around 8 percent after the company announced strong revenue guidance at its annual investor meeting.
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