Markets are moving slightly lower again today as the rally of the past two months begins to slowly fade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) has fallen 0.27%, and the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC) is down 0.46% in late trading.
Positive housing data didn't seem to affect markets today. August new-home purchases remained at a two-year high of 373,000 -- another sign that the housing market is slowly improving. But riots in Spain overshadowed the news, and investors continue to take profits from the rally.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is leading the Dow higher today, climbing 2.3% after a drop in early trading. There isn't any significant news out about the company, and until earnings come out investors, are speculating about how the turnaround efforts are going. This has resulted in a pretty volatile few weeks for the stock.
Oil has fallen 1.6% today to just below $90 per barrel. This has pushed both ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) a little more than 0.5% lower today. Concern about reforms in Spain and continuing weakness in the global economy are putting pressure on energy, and if worries about Europe continue, the commodity could continue its slide.
The third quarter ends this weekend, and investors should look at fundamental trends as the drivers of their investments going forward. Earnings season will tell us whether mixed economic data should leave us worried about the future or hopeful, particularly in the volatile banking and energy sectors.