Apple Leads Tech Higher as Blue Chips Struggle
A reversal in Apple Inc. (AAPL) led the news headlines Wednesday as we saw a host of financials reporting on the session. Key earnings remain this week, from Wells Fargo Corp. (WFC), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and General Electric Corp. (GE) just to name a few. The economic news on the day was muted as earnings and AAPL were in focus. Volume has been pretty low this week, it seems The Street is processing the news from the sidelines following recent gains that drove equities to 5 year highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23.66 points, or 0.2%, to 13,511.23, with 16 of its 30 components losing ground. The S&P 500 index added less than half a point to 1,472.63, with telecommunications hit the hardest, while technology rebounded to be the best performer of its 10 major industry groups. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 6.77 points, or 0.2%, to 3,117.54.
An unexpected drop in inventories sent crude higher. Light, sweet crude-oil futures for delivery in February climbed 96 cents, or 1%, to settle at $94.24 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold lost 27 cents to settle at $1,683.20 an ounce, ending a two session winning streak.
The consumer price index in December was unchanged after declining 0.3 percent in November. The December figure matched market expectations for no change. Excluding food and energy, the CPI edged up 0.1 percent, following a modest 0.1 percent rise in November. The consensus called for a 0.1 percent gain. Year-on-year, overall CPI inflation softened to 1.7 percent in December, compared to 1.8 percent in November. The core rate held steady at 1.9 percent in December.
Industrial production in December advanced 0.3 percent, following a downwardly revised 1.0 percent rebound in November. Analysts projected a 0.2 percent increase for December. The manufacturing component jumped 0.8 percent, which was double expectations. pacity utilization for total industry rose to 78.8 percent from 78.7 percent in November. Analysts forecast a rate of 78.5 percent.
The housing market index came in unchanged at 47, still three points short of the 50 level above which would indicate that more builders describe conditions as positive. The reading was slightly below expectations of 48. This is the first non-advance in 9 months.