A late day push helped the U.S. stock market to another strong close on Wednesday. The Dow and S&P 500 finished the session at new all-time highs and all of the major averages recorded steady gains.
U.S. stocks have been on fire at the beginning of 2013 and the current investing landscape shows few signs of a correction on the horizon. Investors are showing considerable confidence in the markets and new cash has been pouring into riskier assets on a near-daily basis.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, or 0.40 percent, to 15,276.
The S&P 500 climbed better than 8 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,659.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 9 points, or 0.26 percent, to just below 3,472.
Producer prices fell for the second consecutive month, falling 0.7 percent in April compared to a decline of 0.6 percent in March. This was more than the consensus estimate calling for a decline of 0.5 percent.
On a core basis, which excludes food and energy, PPI was up 0.1 percent for April and in line with the consensus. That came in slightly below the 0.2 percent gain for March.
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization
Industrial production declined 0.5 percent in April after rising 0.3 percent for the month of March. The consensus expected industrial production to fall 0.2 percent.
Capacity utilization was 77.8 percent in April versus 78.3 percent in March. This was the lowest level of capacity utilization since January. Economists expected the figures to remain unchanged at 78.3 percent. Manufacturing capacity utilization came in at 75.9 percent.
Crude oil prices were mixed on Wednesday. Nearing the closing bell for equities, NYMEX crude futures were essentially unchanged at $94.20. Brent contracts were last up more than 1 percent to $103.70.
Precious metals plunged on the day. In late afternoon trade, COMEX gold futures were down 2.22 percent to $1,392.90 while silver had lost 3.67 percent to $22.52. Copper futures were last trading down 0.62 percent.
The grain complex was mostly lower on Wednesday. Corn futures had lost 0.27 percent and wheat was last trading down 2.39 percent. In soft commodities, coffee prices fell 2.40 percent and all products were trading lower.
Bonds bounced back from recent losses on Wednesday. Heading into the closing bell, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:TLT) was up 0.52 percent to $117.17. Yields fell on the day as prices rose.
The 2-Year Note yield lost one basis point to 0.24 percent while the 5-Year yield fell three basis points to 0.83 percent. Both the 10-Year Note yield and the yield on the 30-Year Bond lost three basis points to 1.94 percent and 3.16 percent, respectively.
The U.S. dollar was up moderately on the session. Late in 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, had gained 0.29 percent to $22.80.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading down 0.46 percent to $1.2876. No other currency pairs moved more than 0.10 percent on the day.
Volatility and Volume
Despite a strong day for stocks, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) had registered a slight gain late on Wednesday. The VIX was last up 0.47 percent to 12.83, but remains at very low levels.
Volume was lighter than usual on the day despite the ongoing bull market. Only around 101 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 127 million.
Shares of Comstock Holdings (NASDAQ:CHCI) were trading up more than 31 percent late in the day after the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings results.
Small-cap name YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ:YRCW) climbed more than 21 percent on Wednesday on a technical breakout.
SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) was last trading up around 9 percent after the solar company provided Q2 guidance well above consensus estimates. The company's fiscal 2013 forecast was in line with expectations.
Himax Technologies (NASDAQ:HIMX) had climbed around 12 percent in afternoon trade. The stock has been rallying sharply in recent weeks and a bullish Seeking Alpha article may have been responsible for Wednesday's move.
Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) added more than 5 percent on Wednesday. The company is set to release abstracts at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting at 6 p.m.
Computer Sciences (NYSE:CSC) lost almost 10 percent after the company missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shed more than 3 percent after a research firm said that the company's share of the smartphone market fell in the first-quarter.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:QCOR) lost more than 9 percent on the day. The stock had risen sharply on Tuesday, and some of the losses may have been attributable to profit taking.
First Majestic Silver (NYSE:AG) lost almost 9 percent in the wake of a rout in silver prices.
The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDXJ) fell almost 8 percent as gold prices slumped on Wednesday.
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