The S&P 500 declined 0.31% and the Dow was lower by 0.06%. Trading today was extremely quiet. Investors waited on the sidelines ahead of tomorrow’s Fed meeting. Some feel that Chairman Bernanke will announce the beginning of the tapering process tomorrow.
Industrials, technology, and materials were leaders today while banks and telecom underperformed. Industrial giant MMM was a standout gaining close to 3%. MMM declared they were increasing their quarterly dividend by 35%. MMM has paid a dividend for 97 consecutive years. They also announced between $17 and $22 billion in stock buybacks over the four years.
Commodities traded off as gold and silver traded down for the second straight day. Natural gas saw selling as investors took profits.
Homebuilder confidence is back up to the peak for the expansion. The NAHB housing market index increased 4 points to 58 in December. The increase was better than expected and brought the index back up to its peak for the expansion previously reported in August.
Financials underperformed all day and finished the session near the lows. Banks and insurers both underperformed and accounted for the bulk of the weakness in the sector. Both regional banks and the money centers sold off slightly more than the market.
Semiconductors were the leading industry group in the tech sector. Semi’s traded higher by 1.14%. Both semiconductor makers and equipment makers traded higher. PC related names also performed well. Both PC and disk drive makers posted gains.
Internet stocks were mixed. Online retailers were weak after eBay announced weak store sales data. Social media stocks sold off as money came out of Twitter.
Healthcare traded lower and biotech, pharma, and managed care all traded off. Hospitals traded off after industry data revealed that in-patient admissions have declined recently.
Some area of retail stood out today. Names associated with consumer electronics and games posted strong gains today.
Source: PFS Group