Apr 6, 2010
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.56 points, or 0.03%, to 10969.99, the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 2.0 points, or 0.17%, to 1189.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 7.28 points, or 0.30%, to 2436.81. The FOX 50 picked up 1.46 points, or 0.17%, to 860.37.
Aside from a new report that suggests the Fed's
policies aren't going away any time soon, the markets were moved in one direction or the other by rallying banks, a sharply stronger U.S. dollar and resurfacing fears about Greece's debt crisis resurfaced. Ultimately, the markets ended in a stalemate.
“It’s going to take a much more extreme catalyst… to move this market one way or the other,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co. “If we work our ways sideways until we get into earnings season when we get good news from Corporate America, I think that’s okay.”
Half of the Dow's members closed higher, including Bank of America (BAC: 18.47, 0.35, 1.93%), JPMorgan Chase (JPM: 45.86, 0.55, 1.21%) and Alcoa (AA: 15.05, 0.32, 2.17%). The index's weakest members were Travelers (TRV: 52.58, -0.72, -1.35%) and Coca-Cola (KO: 54.28, -0.57, -1.04%).
The Nasdaq Composite closed at its best level since Aug. 2008 as large cap tech stocks such as Research in Motion (RIMM: 70.09, 2.54, 3.76%) and Amazon.com (AMZN: 135.56, 4.07, 3.1%) rallied.
The mixed trading day comes after bullish economic data on jobs and housing pushed the markets solidly higher on Monday, leaving the Dow at its highest level since Sept. 2008. However, the blue chips have run into resistance on their push to the psychologically-important 11000 level.
"The market just continues to climb this wall of worry without a lot of participation from the investing public,” NYSE trader Ted Weisberg of Seaport Securities told FOX Business. “I think the lack of participation on the part of the public is disturbing but it’s understandable. The market is going to move higher -- whether it does it with volume or without volume -- I think the direction is still going to be up.”
Wall Street hit session highs Tuesday afternoon after the Fed released its March 16 minutes, which have grown in importance as other central banks have begun to normalize their monetary policies. However, the minutes showed the Fed continues to worry about raising rates too soon -- before the U.S. economy is healthy enough to grow without ultra-low rates.
In fact, the central bank warned the “extended period” policy for low rates “might last for quite some time and could even increase if the economic outlook worsened appreciably.” The Fed wasn’t worried about inflation, saying it may be slowing more than expected and is likely to stay subdued for some time.
Financial stocks were the biggest winners on Tuesday, rallying as Wells Fargo upgraded large U.S. banks to "market weight." The firm also singled out PNC (PNC: 62.57, 0.92, 1.49%) and Bank of America (BAC: 18.47, 0.35, 1.93%) as two stocks likely to capitalize on new focus on normalized financial earnings.
Wall Street was unmoved by a healthy Treasury auction of $40 billion worth of three-year notes, which came under more scrutiny than usual after the yield on the 10-year note breached 4% earlier this week for the first time since last June. On top of Tuesday’s solid auction, the U.S. will attempt to sell $21 billion in 10-year bonds and $13 billion of 30-year bond auctions later this week.
Worries about Greece reemerged on Tuesday as the nation’s bonds tumbled amid reports Athens is looking to renegotiate a rescue package to avoid International Monetary Fund restrictions. While officials in Athens denied the reports, Greece bond yields spiked and the euro plunged almost 1% against the dollar before recovering somewhat. Even though it's a long-term positive for the economy, a stronger dollar tends to weigh on commodities and multinationals because it makes exports more expensive.
In the face of the dollar rally, crude oil rallied for the sixth day in a row, gaining 22 cents a barrel, or 0.25%, to $86.84 -- its highest settle since Oct. 2008. Gold rose for the seventh day of the last eight, picking up $2.20 a troy ounce, or 0.19%, to $1135.10.
Massey Energy (MEE: 48.33, -6.41, -11.71%) fell 11% after an explosion rocked its major coal mine in West Virginia, killing at least 25 miners. It’s not clear what caused the explosion. Massey, which is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia, is likely to face more intensive government scrutiny in the wake of the explosion.
UBS (UBS: 16.84, 0.07, 0.42%) could be slammed by a flurry of new client tax cases intended to create a "splash of media attention" ahead of the April 15 tax deadline, Reuters reported.
CA (CA: 23.4, -0.45, -1.89%) announced plans to slash 1,000 jobs and take a $50 million restructuring charge. The software company said it expects 2010 EPS to come in at the lower end of its previous range of $1.60 to $1.71. Analysts had been expecting 2010 EPS of $1.69.
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.62% to 5780.35, France's CAC 40 rose 0.49% to 4053.94 and Germany's DAX advanced 0.27% to 6252.21.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 0.5% to 11282.32 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.02% to 3158.68. Hong Kong's Hang Seng remained closed for a holiday.
Personal Finance Daily
APRIL 06, 2010
Tuesday's Personal Finance stories
- Banks feast on bankrupt customers
- Flexible workplaces are good for all
- Putting stock in chief executives
- Gas pump prices on the rise
But banks aren't nearly so supportive of that second-chance idea when they're the ones with the power to offer, or withhold, a helping hand.
Read David Weidner's column today for more on how banks pushed through a strict bankruptcy law in 2005 that severely limits the ability of consumers to write off their debts, and how those same banks and their well-paid lobbyists are now resisting reform efforts aimed at tightening the rules under which banks operate.
Did you know that if you don't pay your credit-card bill, eventually the creditor can reach right into your paycheck and garnish your wages? That's painfully ironic, given that so many Americans these days are struggling to pay their bills because they lost their jobs -- and their paychecks -- when banks helped drive our economy over the edge.
-- Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor
Bankruptcy 'reform' is helping big banks squeeze consumers
For those who underestimate the power of the banking lobby as financial "reform" weaves its way through Washington, one need only look back five years ago to see how influential banks are at pressing their agenda.
See David Weidner's Writing on the Wall.
Flexible workplaces benefit workers and employers
These days most workers are happy simply to have a job, and aren't thinking about what their boss can do to make life a little easier. But with so many two-working-parent families, workers can use whatever professional support is available.
See Diary of a Recession Baby.
Job gains exceed losses for second time in two years
More people got a job in February than left one for just the second month since the recession began more than two years ago, according to detailed data on gross job flows released Tuesday by the Labor Department.
See Economic Report.
Commentary: With labor market weak, government should hire more
Memo to President Obama: If you want to avoid a double-dip recession, now is the time to get serious about creating jobs.
See Irwin Kellner.
Americans to pay more at the pump this summer
Americans will pay an average of 48 cents a gallon more for gasoline this summer than in 2009, but will nevertheless consume about 0.5% more of the automotive fuel after Memorial Day as the economy picks up steam, according to government projections released on Tuesday.
See story on gas prices.
Parents seek space on family vacations
Parents are willing to pay for time away from the kids during family vacations. Going back to basics holds no appeal to those nearing retirement age. And apartment rents are starting to go up for the first time since the recession began.
Listen to Radio Report.
Spirit Airlines to charge for carry-on bags to pull down fares
In a bold move, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines said Tuesday it would be the first carrier to charge for carry-on luggage, the latest step in de-bundling products and services traditionally included in the price of a ticket.
Some fund managers put stock in a company's top executives
For some mutual-fund managers, investment research begins in the corner office. Believing that the quality of a firm's top leaders says a lot about the quality of the firm itself, they make it their business to get personally acquainted with the executives running the companies in which their funds are invested or might invest.
See Jonathan Burton's Life Savings.
A boring stock market can be exciting
Following five straight winning weeks for Wall Street, indexes largely have bounced from flat to a bit lower in Tuesday trading. But that's good news, says Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates.
Listen to Radio Report.
Health-care reform law to kick in soon
The effects of the health-care reform bill signed by President Barack Obama will soon begin to be felt, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday, even as she said the biggest changes are years away.
See story on health-care reform.
Court rejects restrictions on Internet
A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday struck down rules that restrict Comcast Corp. from dictating how customers can use the Internet.
See story on court rejects restrictions on Internet.
Appeals court deals blow to net neutrality
A federal appeals court rules that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority when it sanctioned Comcast Corp. in 2008 for deliberately slowing Internet traffic for some users. WSJ's Julia Angwin discusses the significance of ruling and what it means for consumers.
IPad versus iPhone and the high price of apps
The Digits panel looks at the high cost of apps for the iPad and discusses why they're more expensive than those on iPhones. Plus, an appeals court deals a blow to net neutrality; and Microsoft is ready to connect with the mobile user.
Should executives change their stock option planning strategy in anticipation of higher taxes? Richard Kohan, Personal Financial Services Leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers, weighs in.
Watch Video Report.
Canadian buyers move into U.S. real estate
As the Canadian currency reaches parity with the U.S. dollar, more of that country's residents, like the bird represented on its coins, are flocking south to find a second home in the sun and sand.
See story on real estate.
ECONOMY & POLITICS
Commentary: Fed watching the economy, not the clock
Interest rates will rise when the economy begins to heat up and not a moment before, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.
See MarketWatch First Take.
Treasury sees GM, Chrysler meeting pension obligations
The federal government could be on the hook for billions if General Motors and Chrysler fail to turn a profit and terminate their pension plans, the Government Accountability Office concluded Tuesday.
See story on pensions.
Why U.K. polls can be misleading
The polls will tell you that the Tories have somewhere between a 4 and 10 percentage point lead against the incumbent Labour Party in the British national election, scheduled for May 6.
See London Calling.
Commentary: Mighty America's five stages of rapid decline
Imagine you're legendary business guru Jim Collins. Decade ago "Good to Great" and "Built to Last" made him the new Peter Drucker. He's a guy USA Today says would rather be rock climbing than helping companies learn the secrets of making "the leap to greatness."
See Paul B. Farrell.
Get the latest news on our mobile site: http://www.marketwatch.com/m
The middle classes are expanding more rapidly and in greater numbers than any market has ever witnessed.Read More
Billionaire Jaiprakash Gaur made his money in hydropower and stands to make a new fortune building India's longest toll roads.Read More
As emerging markets lead the world out of the downturn, Asia surpasses the U.S. as the world's largest air travel market.Read More
Beta-carotene-rich corn could reduce rates of childhood blindness and infant mortality.Read More
Tiger conservationist Sanjay Gubbi answers your questions on India's national animal.Read More
|Click for updates: forbes.com/asia|
Page last updated at 22:07 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 23:07 UK
The price of oil reaches a fresh 18-month high on growing hopes of a US-led global economic recovery.
Euro falls on Greece debt fears
The euro falls sharply against the dollar and the pound after reports Greece had tried to renegotiate a eurozone rescue plan.
AOL announces plans to sell Bebo
Internet company AOL says it plans to sell Bebo just two years after buying the social networking site for $850m.
Afternoon Business Update
April 6th, 2008
A Mini-Tower to Bring You the Signal You’re Already Paying For
By MATT RICHTEL
Small devices that act as cell towers will become increasingly common in homes. But they cost extra.
Greece’s Borrowing Costs Rise as Euro Falls
By DAVID JOLLY
Markets in Athens were unnerved on Tuesday, a day before I.M.F. officials were to arrive to discuss the government’s austerity measures in a possible precursor to a bailout.
Geithner in India for Economic Talks
By HEATHER TIMMONS
On the first day of a visit by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, the two countries promised to meet regularly for talks on macro-economic issues and their financial industries.
MSNBC Suspends One of Its Anchors
By BRIAN STELTER
The cable news channel said it suspended David Shuster for an indefinite period because he participated in a test show for a rival, CNN.
In Narragansett, R.I., History Trumps Property Rights
By ELIZABETH ABBOTT
Seeking to preserve a site that may contain an entire Indian village, Rhode Island revoked a building permit and refused to compensate the developer.
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