Today's trading session got off to a poor start and never really recovered. The culprit was a trio of disappointments. Housing starts came in worse than expected, declining to a yearly run-rate of 698,000 homes, 8,000 less than last month. In addition, concerns over a China slowdown are increasing, as the country indicated that gasoline prices will increase 7% after earlier this month cutting its growth target down to 7.5% with inflation running near 4%. And inflation is on everyone's mind after the run-up on interest rates for 10-year Treasury bonds made investors edgy. However, interest rates have been well below historical norms during the crisis, so the likely cause is increased confidence in the U.S. economy.

With all that in mind, let's look at how the market fared today.


Gain / Loss

Gain / Loss %

Ending Value

Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) (68.94) (0.52%) 13,170.19
Nasdaq (INDEX: ^IXIC) (4.17) (0.14%) 3,074.15
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) (4.23) (0.30%) 1,405.52

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

All three indexes were down, and the S&P's decline keeps yesterday's intraday performance as that index's official 52 week high. The Dow, unsurprisingly, had the worst performance, as only eight of its 30 components finished with gains. It probably would have been worse if not for help from the financial sector: Component Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) continues its amazing post-stress-test performance, sending shares up an additional 3% today. It was once again the strongest Dow performer. With uncertainty over the big banks' capital strength dissipating, investors are feeling more confident jumping into a stock that sits at only a fraction of its pre-crisis highs.

One of the Nasdaq's top performers was biotech Amarin (Nasdaq: AMRN), which saw shares pop 12% after finally winning an important patent for its triglyceride-fighting drug AMR-101. Although still well below its 2011 highs near $20 a share, the biotech has rallied this year, up 59% so far in 2012. The company still has numerous patents pending, and with an FDA decision coming in late July after successful phase 3 trials, Amarin's run might not be done.

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