Stocks were struggling to hold on to small gains in Tuesday trading, with bottom-fishing among beaten-down biotech and commodity-related stocks earlier lifting the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices to narrow advances. An unexpected rise in consumer confidence this month also had been working to bolster investor attitudes, offsetting a small decline in home prices during July and an expanded trade deficit in August.
Equities opened to the downside today despite modest gains during pre-market trading after a 0.2% drop in home prices magnified housing market worries initially triggered by a 1.4% drop in pending home sales reported Monday. But a rise in consumer confidence to an eight-month high of 103.0, topping expectations, worked to briefly drive stocks into the green before global-growth pressures and their impact on commodity prices pushed the major indices lower again.
European bourses closed mostly lower as investors continued to sell riskier assets amid worries about China. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index fell to its lowest level since January, losing another 0.32% in value on Tuesday
Crude oil was up $1.01 to $45.44 per barrel. Natural gas was down 5 cents to $2.62 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down 50 cents to $1,131.20 per ounce while silver was up 10 cents to $14.64 per ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.25 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.88% to $14.65 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.96% to $12.03. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 1.61% to 13.53 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.02% to $108.40. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.50% to $14.01.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 19.99 (+0.21%) to 9,621.41
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 15.70 (-0.10%) to 15,986.19
S&P 500 up 0.71 (+0.04%) to 1,882.48
Nasdaq Composite Index down 8.36 (-0.18%) to 4,535.61
Nikkei 225 Index down 4.05%
Hang Seng Index down 2.97%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 2.02%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.83%
CAC 40 down 0.31%
DAX down 0.35%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES NYSE
Energy Sector Index up 0.66%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.03%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.88%
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