Closing Update: Chip Stocks Lift Nasdaq to Multi-Year High; Dow Remains Negative on IBM Loss
Stocks tread water for the last several hours of trading Wednesday amid lackluster earnings, lowered guidance for IBM ( IBM ), and continued rumblings of overvaluation in equities. As the range narrowed for all three indices, the Dow Industrials remained in negative territory, but the S&P 500 squeezed out a slim gain. And once again, the Nasdaq hit a fresh 13-year high on strength in biotechs and semiconductor stocks in spite of heavy losses for Intel ( INTC ) and Applied Micro Circuits ( AMCC ).
There was no economic data today, but tomorrow's flurry of data on initial claims, manufacturing and the housing market was another excuse for traders to sit on the sidelines today. The chance for an upside surprise in either claims or the purchasing manager's index prevented any aggressive pressure on the financial markets today. Jobless claims are expected to increase 3,000 for the latest survey week, while the PMI should show a very small improvement to 55.0 in January from 54.4 in December. Other data includes December existing home sales (unchanged at 4.90 million), the FHFA house price index (+0.4% expected from +0.5% prior) and December leading economic indicators (+0.1% expected from +0.8% prior).
Here's where the markets stand at the close:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 41 (-0.3%) at 16,373.34
S&P 500 was up 1 (+0.1%) at 1,844.86
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 17 (+0.4%) at 4,243.00
FTSE 100 was down 0.12%
Nikkei 225 was up 0.16%
Hang Seng Index was up 0.21%
Shanghai China Composite Index was up 2.16%
LUNA The company announced that it sold its shape-sensing technology for medical applications to Intuitive Surgical ( ISRG )
NOVB Agreed to merge with TriCo Bancshares ( TCBK ) in a transaction valued at approximately $178.4 million.
RSH Hedge-fund manager Jamie Zimmerman's 8.1% passive stake is generating interest in the stock.
MTSL Terminated its previously announced agreement with SBC Communications, LLC to provide MTSL's cloud and managed services.
BBSI Expects Q4 gross sales of about $779.3 million, below the Street estimates for $787 million.
PWT, PWT.TO The Canadian exploration and production company late Tuesday cut its target for 2014 average production volume