After moving in agreement for four consecutive days, major U.S. equity indexes closed today's trading in mixed fashion. Volume, the number of trades placed during the day, was reasonably light, suggesting a degree of indecision, or at minimum, a lack of conviction, from investors today.
Gain / (Loss)
Gain / (Loss) %
|Dow Jones Industrial Average |
|S&P 500 |
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
It's hard to blame them, especially considering the motley economic data released today. From China, we heard that industrial production continued to decelerate for a third consecutive month. That report matches the trend in consumer spending of late and contributed to measured inflation numbers reported from The Middle Kingdom. While slowing growth in such a large, emerging economy is troubling, the truth remains that Chinese policymakers have plenty of tools at their disposal to stimulate growth in such a tepid inflationary setting. As for the U.S., weekly jobless claims declined unexpectedly from the previous week -- adding to hopes of a rebound in labor markets sparked by last Friday's better than expected non-farm payrolls report.
To summarize: The U.S. labor situation is showing signs of perking up, growth in China is decelerating, and need I mention the misadventures of Europe? There's a lot to digest out there for investors, and perhaps markets simply took a break after gorging on sizable gains for the past few sessions. Let's just hope they don't jump on the investment equivalent of a cleansing diet -- we all know how that ends.
In individual stocks, today's biggest winners included Cisco (up 3.2%) within the Dow and Alpha Natural Resources
On the losing end today, shares of high flying energy drink maker Monster Beverage
Also heading south and leading the Dow's decline today were shares of American Express
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Brenton Flynn owns no shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Cisco Systems. The Fool has created a bear call spread position in American Express. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Monster Beverage. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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