With reaction to the latest earnings news pushing the markets in opposite directions, stocks turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday after moving mostly lower over the course of the three previous sessions.
Gold stocks saw considerable strength amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal. With gold for August delivery jumping $31.90 to $1,608.10 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surged up by 3.1 percent. The gain lifted the index off a two-month closing low.
Significant strength was also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent gain posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Altera (ALTR) and Broadcom (BRCM) posted standout gains after reporting better than expected second quarter results.
Biotechnology, networking, and telecom stocks also moved notably higher, partly offsetting the losses posted over the past few sessions.
On the other hand, health insurance stocks saw substantial weakness on the day, dragging the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index down by 3.8 percent. WellPoint (WLP) helped to lead the sector lower after reporting weaker than expected second quarter earnings and cuttings it full year guidance.
Housing stocks also came under pressure on the heels of the disappointing new home sales report, resulting in a 3 percent drop by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. Steel and tobacco stocks also saw some weakness on the day.
The major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line, with the Dow climbing 58.73 points or 0.5 percent to 12,676.05, while the Nasdaq fell 8.75 points or 0.3 percent to 2,854.24. The S&P 500 closed nearly flat, edging down 0.42 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 1,337.89.
by RTT Staff Writer
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