Market Wrap for Wednesday, April 24: Stocks Little Changed as Investors Focus on Earnings Season
A day after a big stock market rally, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were unchanged on Tuesday while the Dow recorded a moderate loss as AT&T shares fell five percent on earnings news.
Durable goods orders declined more than expected for March and the most since August, suggesting that manufacturing activity cooled at the end of the first-quarter.
Overall, it was a quiet trading session, although numerous stocks were making large moves based on earnings reports. Another large slate of reports are expected out after the closing bell on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 43 points, or 0.29 percent, to 14,676.
The S&P 500 was unchanged at 1,579.
The Nasdaq added less than a point, or 0.01 percent, to 3,270.
Durable Goods Orders
Durable goods orders fell 5.7 percent in March after increasing 4.3 percent in February. This compared to consensus expectations for a decline of 3.1 percent. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders were down 1.4 percent compared to a decline of 1.7 percent in February. The consensus expected orders to remain flat excluding transportation in March.
Crude oil was strongly higher on Wednesday. In late trading, NYMEX crude futures had added around 2.64 percent to $91.53. Brent crude futures were last up 1.58 percent to $101.89. Natural gas futures lost roughly 1.50 percent on the day and were last trading at $4.18.
Precious metals bounced back from losses on Tuesday. Near the close of equities, COMEX gold futures were trading up 1.25 percent to $1,426.40. Silver futures notched a gain of 0.76 percent to $23.04 on the day. Copper jumped better than 2 percent on Wednesday.
The grain complex was largely lower on the day, although corn recorded a gain of around 0.70 percent. Wheat futures were last trading down 0.50 percent. In soft commodities, movers included sugar, which lost 1.70 percent, and orange juice, which traded up around 1.60 percent.
Near the closing bell, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was up around 0.17 percent to $122.70. With the exception of the 2-Year Note yield, which was flat at 0.23 percent, bond yields moved higher on the day.
The 5-Year Note yield rose one basis point to 0.70 percent. Both the 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond yield added one basis point as well, to 1.70 percent and 2.89 percent, respectively.
The U.S. dollar was down slightly on Tuesday. Heading into the closing bell, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE:UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, had lost 0.09 percent to $22.55.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading up 0.24 percent to $1.3022. Volatility in other currency pairs was limited, with the biggest mover being the AUD/USD, which rose 0.28 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX moved up slightly on Wednesday, and was last trading around 0.67 percent higher to 13.57. Volatility expectations have fallen on the week after rising the week prior.
Volume was very light on Wednesday. Only around 83 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 129 million.
AT&T (NYSE:T) fell around five percent late on Wednesday after the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings results failed to impress investors.
Shares of Buckeye Technologies traded up almost 27 percent after the company agreed to be acquired by Georgia-Pacific for around $1.45 billion.
Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) was trading up over seven percent near the closing bell after the company released its fiscal first-quarter financial results.
Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) jumped nearly seven percent after its fiscal first-quarter results.
Despite beating estimates, VMware (NYSE:VMW) was trading down around 6 percent late in the day as investors reacted to a weak outlook.
First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) traded up almost 12 percent on Wednesday amid a rally in the solar sector. Solar stocks were helped by a report suggesting that European demand is on the rise.
Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW) plunged around 22 percent on Tuesday after the company cut its full-year forecast.
Private education provider DeVry (NYSE:DV) fell more than 20 percent after the company reported weak Q3 revenue and lower enrollment.
Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) fell almost 10 percent on the day after the company released its fiscal Q1 results and offered a weak outlook for the second-quarter.
Ryder Systems (NYSE:R) surged seven percent on the session a day after falling sharply in the wake of the company's fiscal first-quarter financial results.
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