The effects of the Federal Open Market Committee's decision to postpone the tapering of its bond-buying program gave an immediate lift to both the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), a glow that continued until midmorning today.
By later in the morning, however, the bloom was definitely off the rose, as the Dow descended into the red, and the S&P was barely holding on to its previous gains. Perhaps concern about the looming debt ceiling battle, which was temporarily pushed into the background after the Fed's announcement, is having a dampening effect on markets this morning.
Also in the mix is the latest jobless claims data from the U.S. Department of Labor, showing an increase in unemployment claims of 15,000 for the week ending Sept. 14. Analysts noted that the lower number of initial claims for the week ending Sept. 7 may have been due to the Labor Day weekend, as well as computer updates in some states that probably delayed processing of claims.
Some shining stars
Still, there are some winners on the Dow so far today. Home improvement retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) has gained more than 1%, following remarks from the FOMC regarding the strengthening of the housing market and this morning's report from the National Association of Realtors, which showed an increase in sales of existing homes. The NAR noted that sales rose 1.7% in August from July, and that tight supply continues to push home prices higher, as well.
Property and casualty insurer Travelers (NYSE:TRV) got a boost earlier today from analysts at FBR Capital, noting the company's robust capital reserves, stock buybacks and ability to institute price increases. Travelers' price target was raised to $94 from the analysts' prior $84.
Banks are looking grim
JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) is losing ground, as it ponies up big bucks today for naughty behavior. The bank will be handing over $900 million to settle charges of lax oversight pursuant to its reported losses on the London Whale trade last year, a reporting oversight in which it is also admitting guilt. Also on tap is an action against the bank by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for its participation in "unsound" collection practices regarding credit card balance collections.
Also down 0.4% today is Bank of America, perhaps in sympathy with JPMorgan, which has dipped 0.73% shortly before noon.