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Wednesday, 22 February 2012 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: +15.82 Level: 12965.69 NASDAQ PointChange: -3.21 Level: 2948.57 NQ100 PercentChange: +0.2 R2K PercentChange: -0.7 SP400 PercentChange: -0.4 SP500 PointChange: +0.98 Level: 1362.21 NASDAQ-Adv:955 Dec: 1617 NYSE-Adv:1508 Dec: 1501

[BRIEFING.COM] The Dow's failure to overtake the psychologically significant 13,000 line left stocks to drift lower for a mixed finish. Commodities put on an impressive performance, though.

A modestly higher open was quickly challenged by sellers, but support for the broad market near the neutral line helped restore buying interest. However, the ensuing rebound was capped because the Dow encountered resistance at 13,000, which had gone untested for about 45 months. Resistance there proved too much for stocks, leaving all three major equity averages to steadily surrender their gains and slip into negative territory late in the day. A final flurry of buying helped the averages improve their positions, but final results remained mixed.

Energy stocks maintained impressive gains for the duration of the day. The sector settled with a 0.8% gain, which is better than what any other sector achieved. They were helped by higher oil prices, which climbed nearly 3% to a multi-month closing high above $106 per barrel amid ongoing concerns about the suspension of supply from Iran to parts of Europe.

General strength in other parts of the commodity complex lifted the CRB Index to a 1.6% gain, which stands as its best one-day advance since the first trading session of 2012.

Demand for commodities helped natural resource plays in the basic materials sector trade higher, too, but the sector surrendered some of its gains in conjunction with the broad market's afternoon pullback. The Materials sector still settled with a 0.6% gain.

Health care stocks lagged all session before settling with a 0.7% loss. Medco Health Systems (MHS 63.19, -0.82) shares spiked in the early going, but descended steadily to settle at a session low with a sizable loss despite an upside earnings surprise.

Walmart (WMT 60.07, -2.41) hampered the Dow's efforts by dropping to a new monthly low after the company reported earnings that came short of the consensus estimate. Home Depot (HD 46.92, +0.21) had an upside earnings surprise, while fellow Dow component Kraft (KFT 38.57, +0.57) matched the consensus.

Traders were generally unenthused by long-awaited news that eurozone officials finally agreed to give Greece another bailout after there had been speculation last week that the process would become bogged down. Reports that China's officials moved to loosen policy in the country by trimming reserve requirements for their country's banks.

Treasuries traded lower all session. Relief was provided by neither the stock market's afternoon retreat nor results from an auction of 2-year Notes. The auction drew a bid-to-cover ratio of 3.54, dollar demand of $123.9 billion, and an indirect bidder participation rate of 35.7%. For comparison, an average of the past six auctions results in a bid-to-cover ratio of 3.69, dollar demand of $129.0 billion, and an indirect bidder rate of 34.0%.

Advancing Sectors: Energy +0.8%, Telecom +0.6%, Materials +0.6%, Tech +0.4%, Industrials +0.3%
Declining Sectors: Financials -0.1%, Utilities -0.3%, Consumer Discretionary -0.3%, Consumer Staples -0.4%, Health Care -0.7%

2/21/2012 3:30:00 PM ET DJ30 PointChange: -7.34 Level: 12942.53 NASDAQ PointChange: -14.70 Level: 2937.08 SP500 PointChange: -2.24 Level: 1358.99 NASDAQ-Adv:945 Dec: 1610 NYSE-Adv:1415 Dec: 1590

[BRIEFING.COM] Oil extended its climb to new multi-month highs amid ongoing concerns about the suspension of supply from Iran to parts of Europe. The energy component closed pit trade at $106.26 per barrel for a 2.9% gain.

Natural gas was unable to join in the climb by the commodity complex. Instead, it fell 2.2% to $2.63 per MMBtu.

Precious metals performed well. Specifically, gold prices pushed up to $1758.40 per ounce for a 1.4% gain. More impressive is that silver prices spiked 3.4% to $34.38 per ounce.

Overall strength among commodities drove the CRB Index to a 1.6% gain. That stands as its best one-day advance since the first trading session of 2012.

Source: Briefing

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