Benchmarks finished in the green propelled by a modest rally in
the materials and the energy sectors on Tuesday. The Dow Jones
logged a new closing high yesterday. Alcoa was the first Dow
company to kick off the earnings season. Meanwhile, China's
consumer price index declined in the month of March. Federal
Reserve is scheduled to release its minutes of its latest meeting
on Wednesday. The materials sector was the biggest gainer among the
S&P 500 industry groups whereas utilities stocks were the major
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.4% to close the
day at 14,673.46. The S&P 500 added 0.4% to finish yesterday's
trading session at 1,568.61. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index
inched up 0.5% to end at 3,237.86. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility
Index (VIX) fell 2.7% to settle at 12.84. Consolidated volumes on
the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq
were roughly 5.71 billion shares, significantly lower than 2012's
daily average of 6.45 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered
the decliners. For the 59% that advanced, 37% declined.
Alcoa Inc (NYSE: AA
) reported its first quarter results after the close of markets on
Monday. The first Dow company to post results, Alcoa's profits came
in above the Street's estimate due to increase in demand from
aircraft and car manufacturers. But revenue fell short of
expectations. Shares of the company remained unchanged yesterday.
According to Thomson Reuters data, profits of S&P 500 companies
are expected to increase by 1.5% from the same quarter a year ago.
Banking major JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM ) and Wells Fargo
& Co (NYSE: WFC
) are scheduled to report quarterly results on Friday.
On the international front, China's consumer price index declined
to 2.1% in March from February's figure of 3.2%. The country was
experiencing annual inflation of nearly 4% a year earlier. But
producer price deflation has increased. Sun Junwei, China economist
at HSBC in Beijing said: "We think the inflation outlook remains
benign. If you look at the overall demand picture, China is
recovering but the pace is still very gradual which means inflation
is not a near-term concern."
On the home front, the U.S. Census Bureau reported wholesale
inventories numbers on Tuesday. According to the report, wholesale
inventories posted it biggest decline in nearly one and half years
in February. Wholesale inventories fell 0.3% from the revised
January's figure of 0.8%. This was in contrast to the consensus
estimate of an increase of 0.5%. Inventories of computer and
computer peripheral equipment and software edged up 2.2% from the
previous month. Inventories of farm product raw materials declined
5.7% from last month and inventories of drugs and druggists'
sundries decreased 3.0%.
Utilities stocks were the major loser among the S&P 500
industry groups and the Utilities SPDR (XLU) lost 0.3%. Stocks such
as Duke Energy Corp (NYSE: DUK ), Dominion
Resources, Inc. (NYSE: D ), NextEra Energy, Inc.
(NYSE: NEE ), The
Southern Company (NYSE: SO ) and El Paso
Electric Company (NYSE: EE ) fell 0.5%, 0.4%,
0.9%, 0.4% and 1.3%, respectively.
The materials sector was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500
industry groups and the Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) gained
1.2%. Stocks such as E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE: DD ), The Dow Chemical
Company (NYSE: DOW
), Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON ), American
Vanguard Corp. (NYSE: AVD ) and 3M Co (NYSE:
MMM ) added 0.9%,
2.5%, 0.1%, 1.0% and 0.2%, respectively.