Stocks Pare Back, Gold Surges in Thursday Trading

Michael Teague  |

Unable to maintain the ecstatic momentum unleashed by outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s announcement ahead of Wednesday’s closing bell that the Central Bank’s fiscal stimulus program was to remain unchanged for the time being, stocks ended the day mostly lower on Thursday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was off by 0.18 percent to 1,722.34 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.25 percent lower at 15,636.55. The NASDAQ added a modest but respectable 0.15 percent, finishing the day at 3,789.38.

Sept. 18's unexpected announcement of the continuance of the quantitative easing program also sent gold on a path to its highest one-day gain in nearly five years, while Treasury yields plummeted from recent two-year highs.

While Bernanke’s announcement about the Fed move, or lack thereof, was widely seen as surprising, it was largely keeping in line with statements the Chairman has been making all year, to the effect that only a substantial improvement in the US economy would provide the proper context in which to commence the “taper.”

As if on cue, the day’s only economic data was the Housing Department’s August existing home sales figures, which rose 1.7 percent during the recently ended month, the highest level in almost 7 years, and besting expectations of a 2.6 percent drop.

On the S&P 500, regional and money center bank stocks took a hit from the Fed’s announcement, with Region’s Financial Corp. (RF) , Huntington Bancshares ($HBAN), and Wells Fargo ($WFC) all ending the day lower on heavy trading. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) dropped over a percent after announcing that it would pay nearly $1 billion to settle claims related to last summer’s “London Whale” trading scandal.

The Dow saw most components in the red, with Unitedhealth Group (UNH) taking the heaviest loss, down over 3 percent. Home Depot (HD) ended 1.5 percent higher in reaction to the housing sales news.

The NASDAQ was higher by the closing bell, with tech shares taking the lead; Groupon Inc (GRPN) , Apple (AAPL) , and Yahoo! (YHOO) all added substantially. Meanwhile, Tesla Motors (TSLA) ended the day another 7 percent higher after an upgrade from Deutsche Bank (DB) .

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Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
TSLA Tesla Inc. 358.39 -1.29 -0.36 6,583,174 Trade
DB Deutsche Bank AG 7.48 -0.09 -1.19 5,677,749 Trade
HBAN Huntington Bancshares Incorporated 15.35 -0.25 -1.60 11,648,879 Trade
RF Regions Financial Corporation 17.17 -0.25 -1.44 8,754,387 Trade
WFC Wells Fargo & Company 53.79 -0.57 -1.05 19,179,788 Trade
YHOO Yahoo! Inc. n/a n/a n/a 0 Trade
GRPN Groupon Inc. 2.61 -0.11 -4.04 8,089,225 Trade
CBRSF Champion Bear Res Ltd 0.09 0.00 0.00 0
AAPL Apple Inc. 275.15 3.69 1.36 33,456,848 Trade
JPM JP Morgan Chase & Co. 136.81 -1.21 -0.88 10,597,481 Trade
HD Home Depot Inc. (The) 214.08 2.04 0.96 6,870,543 Trade

Comments

Watchlist

Symbol Last Price Change % Change
AAPL

     
AMZN

     
HD

     
JPM

     
IBM

     
BA

     
WMT

     
DIS

     
GOOG

     
XOM

     
BRK.A

     
FB

     
JNJ

     
WFC

     
T

     
NFLX

     
TSLA

     
V

     
UNH

     
PG

     

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