Updated: 26-May-11

Market Snapshot
Dow 12402.76 +8.10 (+0.07%)
Nasdaq 2782.92 +21.54 (+0.77%)
SP 500 1325.69 +5.22 (+0.39%)
10-yr Note +18/32 3.06%
NYSE Adv 2154 Dec 846 Vol 861 mln
Nasdaq Adv 1830 Dec 712 Vol 1.92 bln

Industry Watch
Strong: apparel and luxury goods; specialty stores; homebuilding; computer storage and peripherals; application software; broadcasting; coal and consumable fuel; industrial REITs
Weak: thrifts and mortgage finance
Moving the Market
  • Dollar drops against competing currencies
  • Second reading of first quarter GDP continues to show growth of 1.8%
  • Initial jobless claims count increases unexpectedly -- remains well above 400,000
  • Retailers show strength; natural resource plays slow
16:30 ET

Varied Performances for Major Averages

Dow +8.10 at 12402.76, Nasdaq +21.54 at 2782.92, S&P +5.22 at 1325.69

[BRIEFING.COM] Performances among the major equity averages varied today. Data were generally disappointing.

Stocks traded near the neutral line in the early going. The tepid tone came amid mixed action abroad and news that the second estimate of first quarter GDP showed growth of 1.8%, which is unchanged from the advance reading, but less than the 2.0% growth rate that had been expected among economists surveyed by Briefing.com.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 21 totaled 424,000. Not only is that up by 10,000 from the prior week, but it exceeds the 400,000 initial claims that had been widely expected.

The dollar was down markedly this morning, but that didn't seem to matter too much to traders in the wake of the data. The greenback pared its loss as the session progressed, but it was still down 0.5% against a basket of competing currencies at the close of trade.

After struggling to find direction for the first couple of hours, stocks began a gradual climb higher. Microsoft (MSFT 24.67, +0.48) and NetApp (NTAP 55.31, +3.58) led the tech-rich Nasdaq. Shares of MSFT were helped by favorable comments about the stock from hedge fund manager David Einhorn while NTAP was aided by a satisfactory quarterly report.

The S&P 500 managed to make a modest advance with help from consumer discretionary stocks (+0.8%) after Tiffany & Co. (TIF 76.04, +6.00) and Guess? (GES 44.57, +4.47) reported impressive quarterly results. Other retailers shared in their strength, such that the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 53.23, +0.87) ascended to a weekly high.

The Dow ended the day at the unchanged mark. Despite strength in MSFT shares, other blue chips traded in mixed fashion.

Small-cap stocks outperformed again. For the second straight session their strength has sent the Russell 2000 to a gain in excess of 1%.

Share volume remains sluggish. The anemic pace will most likely continue tomorrow since many traders will take off early to get a jump on the long, Memorial Day weekend.

Treasuries attracted strong support and closed near session highs. The climb sent the yield on the benchmark 10-year Note down to 3.06%, which makes for a new 2011 low. Gains were helped along in the wake of an auction of 7-year Notes that drew a bid-to-cover of 3.20, dollar demand of $94.0 billion -- the highest since early 2010 -- and an indirect bidder participation rate of 47.6%.

Advancing Sectors: Consumer Discretionary (+0.8%), Tech (+0.6%), Telecom (+0.6%), Energy (+0.5%), Financials (+0.5%), Industrials (+0.4%), Materials (+0.2%), Consumer Staples (+0.2%)
Declining Sectors: Health Care (-0.1%), Utilities (-0.1%)

..Nasdaq 100 +0.7%. ..S&P Midcap 400 +0.9%. ..Russell 2000 +1.2%.
15:45 ET

Natural Gas Falls After Inventory Data Shows Larger-Than-Expected Build

Dow +22.82 at 12417.02, Nasdaq +24.78 at 2786.16, S&P +6.62 at 1327.09

[BRIEFING.COM] July natural gas shed 1.3% to close at $4.36 per MMBtu. This morning's inventory data, which showed a larger than expected build, sent natural gas prices to session lows at $4.23. They were able to rebound off those lows to close near levels seen heading into the data. July crude oil settled lower by 1.1% to $100.23 per barrel.

 Despite weakness in the dollar, the precious metals finished lower on the day. June gold shed 0.3% to close at $1522.40 per ounce, while July silver closed down 0.8% to $37.37 per ounce.

15:00 ET

Heading into the Final Hour

Dow +39.05 at 12433.71, Nasdaq +25.35 at 2786.73, S&P +7.32 at 1327.79

[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks have stretched to marginally improved session highs. Today's move extends yesterday's advance, which was the first gain for the stock market in four sessions.

Share volume continues to move along at an anemic pace. As such, hardly a half-billion shares have exchanged hands, so far, on the NYSE. The sluggish pace of trade is consistent with that of recent weeks, though. Share volume both today and tomorrow could be contained as a result of so many traders and investors getting a jump on the long, Memorial Day weekend.

14:30 ET

Stocks Stretch to Fresh Session Highs

Dow +36.59 at 12431.25, Nasdaq +23.03 at 2784.24, S&P +6.79 at 1327.26

[BRIEFING.COM] Stocks are extending to new session highs. The move comes as the dollar slips slightly to a 0.5% loss, which brings it back to its afternoon low.

Consumer discretionary stocks, now up 1.0%, are still out in front. Defensive plays like utilities (unch.) and health care (-0.1%) continue to lag.

14:00 ET

Tracking Today's Movers

Dow +9.95 at 12404.61, Nasdaq +16.52 at 2777.90, S&P +3.48 at 1323.95

[BRIEFING.COM] Consumer discretionary (+0.8%), telecom (+0.8%), and tech (+0.6%) are today's top performing sectors. At the other end of the spectrum, health care (-0.1%), utilities (+0.1%), and consumer staples stocks (+0.1%) are the worst performing sectors of the session.

Among individual movers, Tiffany & Co. (TIF 76.04, +6.00) and NetApp (NTAP 55.91, +4.18) are the top two performers by percent gained. Computer Sciences Corp (CSC 38.01, -6.08) is the worst performer by percent lost. Each of their moves comes in response to their latest quarterly reports.

13:30 ET

Treasuries Show Little Response to Auction Results

Dow +19.11 at 12413.77, Nasdaq +19.63 at 2781.41, S&P +4.52 at 1325.18
[BRIEFING.COM] Treasuries have shown little reaction to results from an auction of 7-year Notes that were posted at 1:00 PM ET. The auction drew a bid-to-cover of 3.20, dollar demand of $94.0 billion -- the highest since early 2010 -- and an indirect bidder participation rate of 47.6%. For comparison, the prior auction drew a bid-to-cover of 2.63, dollar demand of $76.3 billion, and an indirect bidder participation rate of 38.7%. An average of the past six auctions results in a bid-to-cover of 2.77, dollar demand of $80.3 billion, and indirect bidder participation rate of 49.4%.
13:00 ET

Mustering Gains

Dow +11.09 at 12405.75, Nasdaq +18.00 at 2779.38, S&P +3.66 at 1324.13

[BRIEFING.COM] Disappointing data played into a muddled start for stocks, but an improved mood among participants has helped the broad market find higher ground and the Nasdaq stage a solid gain.

Even though the dollar was down markedly this morning, participants focused on news that the second estimate of first quarter GDP showed a growth rate of 1.8%, which is unchanged from the first estimate, but less than what some had expected. Moreover, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count came in at 424,000, which exceeds the 400,000 initial claims that had been widely forecasted.

The Dow continues to trade near the neutral line, but the S&P 500 has managed to muster a modest gain after overcoming a sluggish start. The Nasdaq has been the best performing average, thanks to help from Microsoft (MSFT 24.72, +0.53), which has made a strong move higher following favorable comments on the stock from hedge fund manager David Einhorn. NetApp (NTAP 55.80, +4.07) has also provided support following its latest quarterly announcement.

Retailers are also in strong shape. Their gains have helped prop up the consumer discretionary sector, which is up 0.7% following impressive results from Tiffany & Co. (TIF 75.77, +5.73) and Guess? (GES 44.72, +4.62). Reports from retailers in recent sessions have been rather disappointing.

12:30 ET

Dow Continues to Trail its Counterparts

Dow -23.13 at 12371.54, Nasdaq +10.97 at 2772.35, S&P -0.07 at 1320.40
[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq is at a fresh session high with a solid gain while the S&P 500 returns to the unchanged mark, which represented a point of resistance this morning. As for the Dow and its blue chips, it is still in the red with a narrow loss. Meck (MRK 36.23, -0.46) and Home Depot (HD 36.17, -0.46) are weighing most heavily on the Dow, but Microsoft (MSFT 24.75, +0.56) has been a source of support. Shares of MSFT have also provided strength to the Nasdaq.
12:00 ET

Retailers Shares Rise Nicely

Dow -36.86 at 12357.80, Nasdaq +8.02 at 2769.40, S&P -1.82 at 1318.65
[BRIEFING.COM] The major equity averages remain mixed, but retailers have successfully put together impressive gains following strong quarterly reports from Tiffany & Co. (TIF 76.18, +6.14) and Guess? (GES 44.44, +4.34). Strength in the overall retail space has the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 52.83, +0.47) up almost 1%.
11:30 ET

Stocks Mired Amid Listlessness

Dow -40.95 at 12353.70, Nasdaq +5.05 at 2766.43, S&P -2.45 at 1318.02

[BRIEFING.COM] Treasuries have added to their gains. In turn, the yield on the 10-year Note now sits a couple of basis points below 3.10% at a new 2011 low.

Stocks continue to trade in mixed fashion. The lackluster action is largely due to listlessness in the broad market.

Meanwhile, the dollar continues to cut its loss. As such, it is now down just 0.2% against a basket of major foreign currencies after it was contending with a loss of about 0.8% at the open of today's trade.

11:00 ET

Nasdaq Remains Near Neutral Line

Dow -67.78 at 12326.88, Nasdaq -1.75 at 2759.66, S&P -5.24 at 1315.23

[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq is back near the neutral line, but both the Dow and the S&P 500 are in the red with fairly-sizable losses. This is the second straight session that the tech-rich Nasdaq has outperformed its counterparts on a relative basis.

Microsoft (MSFT 24.72, +0.53) has been a primary source of strength for the Nasdaq. Its bounce comes amid favorable comments from hedge fund manager David Einhorn about the stock. He also called for a shakeup of the company's management.

10:35 ET

Natural Gas Sells Off Following Inventory Data; Down 3%

Dow -48.14 at 12346.75, Nasdaq +3.78 at 2765.16, S&P -2.51 at 1317.96
[BRIEFING.COM] Recent strength in the dollar index, seen about 40 minutes ago, caused select commodities to sell off, including crude and precious metals.

Natural gas has been in the red all morning and ahead of inventory data, the energy component was 1.2% lower at $4.37/MMBtu. Following the data, which showed a build of 105 bcf versus consensus which called for a build of ~90 bcf, natural gas fell sharply to new session lows; now at $4.29, down 3%.

Crude oil sold off earlier on the rally in the dollar index, dropping below the $101.00 level. Crude is selling off again in recent activity, along with natural gas, and now just fell below the $100.00 mark. In current trade, crude is down 1.3% at $100.00/barrel.

Precious metals are lower this morning, led by silver. Gold hit session lows 30 minutes ago at $1514.60/oz. and is now down 0.6% at $1517.20/oz. Silver is extending losses in recent trade and is now 1.8% lower at $36.95/oz. 
10:00 ET

Stocks Slip

Dow -56.20 at 12338.35, Nasdaq -1.34 at 2760.04, S&P -3.85 at 1316.62

[BRIEFING.COM] The dollar's recent move off of its low has caused stocks to slip. The move lower has taken all 10 major sectors into the red.

Natural resource stocks offered leadership in the prior session, but today they are under some of the most pressure. That has taken the energy sector and the materials sector down to losses of 0.6%.

09:45 ET

Market Looks for Direction

Dow -19.00 at 12375.66, Nasdaq +0.66 at 2762.04, S&P -0.74 at 1319.73

[BRIEFING.COM] The Dollar Index is down 0.8% this morning. Most of that is owed to a 0.9% advance by the Japanese yen to 81.27 yen per dollar and a 0.8% gain by the euro to $1.419.

Despite the dollar's decline, stocks haven't really shown any kind of positive response. Instead, the three major equity averages are plodding along the neutral line.

Treasuries have attracted some modest buying interest in the early going, though. In turn, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Note is back near 3.10%.

09:15 ET

Market Missing Early Support

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -3.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -5.80. Disappointment over the latest weekly jobless claims count and the second estimate of first quarter GDP (+1.8%) has overshadowed weakness in the dollar. In turn, stock futures point toward a flat to slightly lower start for the session. The uninspired tone comes after stocks achieved their first gain in four sessions yesterday. Overseas markets markets have offered little direction, given that action there has been mostly mixed. Corporate news continues to be of little consequence to the broad market, although it has made for some strong individual action. Namely, shares of Guess? (GES) and Tiffany & Co. (TIF) are expected to gap higher at the open, thanks to their latest quarterly reports.
09:05 ET

Mixed Action Abroad

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -3.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -5.80. Germany's DAX had been near the neutral line about 45 minutes ago, but it recently dropped to a 0.5% loss following the release of GDP data and initial jobless claims in the U.S. Germany's latest data featured a 0.3% increase in import prices during April after they had spiked 1.1% in March. German trade is currently characterized with widespread weakness, although Commerzbank is showing strength for the second straight session. France's CAC has been cut down so that it now trades along the neutral line. BNP Paribas remains a primary source of support. France reported that its reading on consumer confidence for May improved to 84 from 83 in April. Britain's FTSE has successfully put together a solid 0.5% gain. Man Group PLC has been a leader there, but Burberry has been a drag.

Overnight trade in Asia was led by Japans Nikkei, which climbed to a 1.5% gain. Mazda Motor was a leader with its near 8% move higher. Canon (CAJ) contributed considerably to the advance with a near 7% advance of its own. Alongside its early morning earnings announcement, Sony (SNE) issued downside income guidance for fiscal 2012. Only a handful of names logged losses -- Fast Retailing, Shinsei Bank, and Tokyo Dome all settled in the red. Hong Kong's Hang Seng put together a 0.7% gain. Energy giant CNOOC (CEO) was a primary leader there. Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Composite closed 0.2% lower. Although the loss was slight, it marked the sixth straight decline for the Shanghai Composite. Concerns about additional rate hikes aimed at stemming inflation continue to loom over trade there.

08:35 ET

Stock Futures Slip in Response to Data

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -4.20. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -6.30. Stock futures have retreated in the wake of the latest data. Just as the first estimate did, the second estimate of first quarter GDP indicates that the U.S. economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.8% from January through March. Economists polled by Brieifng.com had, on average, expected that GDP would be upwardly revised to reflect growth of 2.0%. As for the first quarter GDP Deflater, it continued to show a 1.9% increase, as had been anticipated. Separately, initial jobless claims for the week ended May 21 totaled 424,000, which is up 10,000 from the prior week and also a greater tally than the 400,000 initial claims that had been widely expected. However, continuing claims came down to 3.69 million from 3.74 million.
08:05 ET

Mixed Tone to Early Trade

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.50. Stock futures are trading in line with fair value, despite a marked decline in the Dollar Index, which was last quoted with a 0.6% loss. Overseas action has offered a mixed direction. Markets in Hong Kong and Japan moved firmly higher, but Shanghai moved settled in the red again. Trade among Europe's major bourses has been mixed. Corporate news has consisted of strong quarterly reports from Tiffany & Co (TIF) and Guess? (GES). Shares of both companies are up markedly ahead of the open. The second estimate of first quarter GDP is due at the bottom of the hour. The latest weekly initial jobless claims tally will be posted at the same time. Natural gas inventory data are on tap for 10:30 AM ET. Results from an auction of 7-year Notes are due at 1:00 PM ET.
06:32 ET

Early Morning Levels

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: flat.
06:32 ET

European Market Data

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...5901.39...+31.30...+0.50%. DAX...7157.12...-13.80...-0.20%.
06:32 ET

Asian Market Data

Market is Closed

[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...9562.05...+139.20...+1.50%. Hang Seng...22900.79...+153.50...+0.70%.
16:30 ET

Natural Resource Plays Help Snap Losing Streak

Dow +38.45 at 12394.66, Nasdaq +15.22 at 2761.38, S&P +4.19 at 1320.47

[BRIEFING.COM] Resource-related stocks helped the broad market fight off early selling to stage its first gain in four sessions.

Losses in the previous three sessions and renewed weakness among the major markets abroad weighed on the early tone of trade. The latest durable goods orders data didn't help.

During April durable goods orders dropped 3.6% and orders less transportation fell 1.5%. Economists polled by Briefing.com had, on average, called for a 2.0% decline in overall orders and a 0.6% increase in orders less transportation, but the worse than expected results were met with only a mildly negative response since the sharp declines were largely attributable to a spike in orders during the prior month. During March overall orders climbed 4.4% while orders less transportation increased 2.5%.

Corporate news flow picked up a bit from the anemic pace of the past few sessions, but it failed to offer much encouragement to buyers. Announcements from retailers Express (EXPR 20.12, -2.75), American Eagle (AEO 13.02, -0.64), and Collective Brands (PSS 15.31, -3.06) featured either disappointing quarterly results or downside guidance.

Dow component Cisco (CSCO 16.19, -0.08) tempered its guidance in a quarterly filing. The stock extended its multi-month descent to its lowest level since the stock market was struck with fear of a global economic and financial system meltdown more than two years ago.

Despite such headwinds in the early going, the major equity averages were able to attract enough support to find higher ground. Small-cap stocks staged one of the sharpest climbs. They were able to overcome a slight loss in the early going and settle with a gain of more than 1%.

Within the broad market, natural resource plays provided the most leadership while many of the other sectors traded listlessly. Favor for the space helped energy stocks and materials stocks advance 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.

Higher commodity prices helped resource-related issues. Oil prices were especially strong; they rallied from an opening loss on the order of about 1% to a 1.7% gain well above $101 per barrel in the face of bearish weekly inventory data. Silver prices staged one of the best moves with its near 4% rally to $37.56 per ounce.

The dollar did little today. It had been higher overnight against other currencies, but was backed down to the flat line during the day. It was largely held in check by Britain's sterling pound, which climbed 0.6% to $1.627 following the United Kingdom's final first quarter GDP reading, which indicated that its economy expanded by 0.5%, as had been reported in the preliminary reading.

Advancing Sectors: Energy (+1.5%), Materials (+1.4%), Industrials (+0.8%), Tech (+0.5%), Health Care (+0.1%), Financials (+0.1%)
Unchanged: Consumer Discretionary
Declining Sectors: Utilities (-0.3%), Consumer Staples (-0.7%), Telecom (-0.7%)

..Nasdaq 100 +0.3%. ..S&P Midcap 400 +0.7%. ..Russell 2000 +1.3%.
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