The U.S. stock market traded lower for the second day in a row on Tuesday. It was another slow day for macro news and overall volume was light. The losses were contained on the session and the major averages remain firmly in positive territory for 2013.
The lone U.S. economic report on Tuesday was November Consumer Credit. The number, which is often volatile, came in well ahead of consensus expectations as consumer credit increased by $16 billion in November. This easily topped consensus estimates for an increase of $10.6 billion. The rise in credit was enough to push consumer debt to an all-time high.
Earnings season kicked off with a report from agricultural products company Monsanto (MON). The company reported first-quarter results which were ahead of Wall Street analysts' consensus estimates and also lifted its full-year outlook.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost a little more than 55 points to close at 13,329.
The S&P 500 lost almost 5 points, or 0.32 percent, to close just above 1,457.
The Nasdaq was the best performer on the session, falling just 7 points, or 0.23 percent, to just below 3,092.
The U.S. dollar was slightly higher versus a basket of foreign currencies on Tuesday. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (UUP) had climbed 0.14 percent late in the session.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair fell around 0.30 percent at last check and was trading at $1.3083. The dollar reversed recent gains against the Yen with the USD/JPY falling 0.42 percent. The other notable mover was the British Pound versus the greenback with the GBP/USD falling 0.37 percent to $1.6058.
At last check, crude oil futures were trading slightly higher with NYMEX crude contracts up 0.06 percent to $93.24. Brent contracts, the benchmark for European crude, had risen 0.62 percent to $112.09. Natural gas lost more than 1 percent on Tuesday and was last trading at $3.23.
Both gold and silver bucked the stock market trend and rose on the day. At last check, COMEX gold futures were up 0.77 percent to $1,658.90 and silver futures had gained roughly 1 percent to $30.39.
Volatility was subdued in the agricultural commodity space with no movers of more than 1 percent. Corn was slightly higher while wheat was slightly lower. Most soft commodities fell on the session, led by cocoa which lost more than 2 percent.
Treasury prices were strongly higher on the day as investors preferred the relative safety of U.S. bonds. The iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) rose 0.67 percent to $119.23.
Yields fell across the curve. The 2-Year Treasury yield fell one basis point to 0.25 percent. The 5-Year yield lost 3 basis points to 0.78 percent. The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond yield declined 3 and 4 basis points to 1.86 percent and 3.06 percent, respectively.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX stopped its slide on Tuesday, eking out a very small gain. At the close, the VIX had risen 0.29 percent to 13.83 after recording record losses last week in the wake of the deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
Volume was light on the day. Only around 92 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 140.8 million.
Sears Holding (SHLD) fell more than 6 percent on the session after the company announced that Sears investor and hedge fund manager Edward Lampert would take over as CEO.
Monsanto (MON) rose a little less than 3 percent after releasing its fiscal first-quarter earnings results and lifting its full-year view.
GameStop (GME) fell more than 6 percent on Tuesday after the company cut its sales guidance.
Yum! Brands (YUM) lost around 4 percent after the company cut its fourth-quarter sales guidance and full-year earnings outlook.
Fusion-IO (FIO) plunged almost 10 percent on the session after the stock was downgraded by analysts at William Blair.
Genworth Financial (GNW) lost more than 3 percent on the day after shares were downgraded at Credit Suisse.
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