Market Wrap For Wednesday, July 31: Stocks Mostly Unchanged Despite Upbeat Data
The U.S. stock market closed mixed on Wednesday despite upbeat economic data and a dovish FOMC statement.
The advanced GDP estimate for the second-quarter came in much better than expected and the central bank showed no signs that a pullback in its quantitative easing program is imminent. Nevertheless, stocks were mostly unchanged at the close.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded a small loss, the S&P was flat, and the Nasdaq finished the day with a small gain.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 21 points, or 0.13 percent, to 15,500.
The S&P 500 lost less than a point, or 0.01 percent, to 1,686.
The Nasdaq rose around 10 points, or 0.27 percent, to 3,626.
According to the advance estimate, GDP rose 1.7 percent in the second-quarter. This compares to a downwardly revised reading of 1.1 percent in the first-quarter of 2013. The consensus only expected GDP to advance 1.1 percent in the most recent quarter.
FOMC Rate Decision
The Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged after a two-day FOMC meeting. The July FOMC statement also showed that the central bank is not pulling back from its $85 billion per month quantitative easing program. The Fed may begin tapering the program later this year, however, if the economic recovery picks up steam.
The Chicago PMI index improved in July, rising from 51.6 in June to 52.3. The index showed that manufacturing activity in the Chicago region has now expanded for three months in a row after contracting in April. The consensus expected Chicago PMI to decline slightly to 51.5.
Crude oil traded higher during Wednesday's session. At last check, NYMEX crude futures had added a little better than 2 percent to $105.24. Brent crude contracts climbed 0.79 percent to $107.75. Natural gas was last up 0.47 percent to $3.45.
In afternoon trade, precious metals were trading higher. COMEX gold futures were last up 0.34 percent to $1,329.30 while silver added 1.50 percent to $19.98. Copper futures jumped around 2.60 percent on the session to $3.1210.
The grains complex was mostly higher on Wednesday. Late in the day, corn futures had climbed 0.31 percent while wheat was up 1.37 percent. Movers in soft commodities included coffee and lumber. Coffee contracts were last down 1.41 percent while lumber had lost 2.41 percent.
Related: Fed bond buying on track.
Treasuries were slightly higher near the close after rising throughout the day. At last check, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) was up 0.34 percent to $107.68.
Yields were as follows on Wednesday afternoon. The yield on the 2-Year Note was 0.31 percent while the 5-Year Note was yielding 1.38 percent. The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond were yielding 2.57 percent and 3.65 percent, respectively.
Heading into the close of equities, the U.S. Dollar was slightly lower on the day. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was down 0.20 percent to $22.10.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last up 0.56 percent to $1.3338. Other movers on the day included the USD/CAD, which fell 0.60 percent, and the AUD/USD, which was down 0.58 percent.
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Volatility and Volume
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) rose slightly on the session. Late in the day, the widely watched barometer of market volatility was up a little better than 1 percent to 13.54.
Volume remained lighter than normal, but above recent days on Wednesday. Around 109 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 135 million.
Marketo (NASDAQ: MKTO) delivered strong Q2 results and forward looking guidance, sending the stock up around 20 percent in late trade.
Synchronoss Technologies (NASDAQ: SNCR) added almost 15 percent on the day after the company's fiscal Q2 results.
Sodastream International (NASDAQ: SODA) delivered Q2 financial results which beat Wall Street profit and sales estimates. Late in the day, the stock was trading up almost 12 percent.
Strong fiscal first-quarter results from InvenSense (NYSE: INVN) sent shares higher by around 13 percent near the closing bell.
NuVasive (NASDAQ: NUVA) reported a second-quarter loss and adjusted earnings missed Wall Street consensus estimates. In late trade, the stock was down around 13 percent.
Regal-Beloit (NYSE: RBC) lost around 8 percent on Wednesday after reporting fiscal second-quarter results that failed to meet analysts' estimates. The company said that its North American commercial and industrial businesses remained sluggish in the quarter.
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