When a quick look across financial websites shows that most headlines center on replacement referees on Monday Night Football or Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) paltry 0.30% gains today to push its shares above $700, you know it's a slow news day.
Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) eked out a 0.09% gain, while the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSCP ) fell 0.13%. Yet across the globe, market movements were more pronounced. The STOXX 50, which tracks European blue chips, sank by 1.17%.
No action today, more later
What led the Dow to its slight gain today? Greater than 1% gains out of components Kraft, Caterpillar, and McDonald's helped power its slightly positive performance. No Dow stock fell by more than 1% today.
As has been the storyline across the year, investors fretted over markets that continue to rally in spite of poor economic growth, but selling was muted. The continued stimulus from central banks around the world -- from the U.S. to Europe to China -- has buoyed much of the gains in recent weeks. With the eurozone locked into large bond-buying programs and Ben Bernanke having promised a third round of quantitative easing, the next round of fireworks in markets looks to be the United States' battle over its 2013 budget, which is set to begin right after the elections in early November.
Looking back at broader markets, technology stocks were some of the day's biggest movers. Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) ended the day down 9.73%, the worst performer in the S&P 500, after it was announced that CFO Thomas Seifert is leaving the company to pursue "other opportunities." Seifert had served as AMD's interim CEO after Dirk Meyer left the company in early 2011, and his departure once again highlights the difficulty the company faces in staying competitive with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) in PCs and servers in a world quickly moving to mobile devices.
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