A Mixed Bag in Monday Trading, S&P Ends Winning Streak
Wall Street started the week on a mostly lower note Monday, as Apple Inc. (AAPL) weighed on the broader market. The market has faced headwinds over the past few months, not only with the debt ceiling debate and fiscal cliff, but also from AAPL, which has 3.8% weight in the S&P 500 and a 10% weight in the Nasdaq. The tech giant has tumbled on demand worries after crossing the $700 mark. There was no economic news on the session, but that will change the remainder of the week. The AAPL free Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.89 points, or 0.1%, to 13,507.32. It was the fourth consecutive day of gains for the blue chips. The S&P 500 Index declined 1.37 points, or less than 0.1%, at 1,470.68, with telecommunications hardest hit and consumer staples faring best among its 10 industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 8.13 points, or 0.3%, to 3,117.50.
Earnings season has been ho-hum in the early going. Of the first 27 companies in the S&P 500 to report fourth-quarter results, 67% exceeded earnings-per-share growth expectations, 15% were in line and 18% missed. Expectations had been depressed, so at current valuation levels, I do not mind the muted reaction. Lots of financials reporting this week, the sector which has led the market over the past year.
Commodities have found some support from a stronger euro. February crude oil rose 58 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $94.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold advanced $8.80, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,669.40 an ounce, while silver jumped 70 cents, or 2.3%, to $31.11 an ounce.