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Tuesday, 10 January 2012 | 00:00
DJ30 PointChange: +32.77 Level: 12392.69 NASDAQ PointChange: +2.34 Level: 2676.56 NQ100 PercentChange: -0.2 R2K PercentChange: +0.5 SP400 PercentChange: +0.5 SP500 PointChange: +2.89 Level: 1280.7 NASDAQ-Adv:1433 Dec: 1074 NYSE-Adv:1908 Dec: 1088 [BRIEFING.COM] The major equity averages mustered modest gains after muddling along for most of the session. The slog was a consequence of listlessness amid a lack of catalysts.

An absence of data and market-moving corporate news this morning left market participants with few cues in the early going. Participants also shrugged off a bounce by the euro, which ended the day with a 0.7% gain against the greenback, because Europe's bourses failed to display the same positive sentiment by trading lower. A meeting between officials from France and Germany failed to produce any encouraging headlines about efforts to restore conditions in the European continent.

Although the broad market was range bound for most of the day, industrials stocks eventually moved ahead of the herd. As a group, industrials were able to ascend to a 0.8% gain. That bested both energy and financials, which finished with gains of 0.6% and 0.5%, respectively. Technology stocks, which collectively represent the largest sector by market weight, offset that strength by trading down to a 0.3% loss, even though shares of semiconductor players were boosted by positive analyst commentary.

While many participants were focused on the prospects of earnings season, which is unofficially ushered in by Dow component Alcoa (AA 9.43, +0.27), Inhibitex (INHX 23.70, +13.83) attracted attention because Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY 33.91, -0.31) will pay a premium of about 160% over the stock's prior session closing price so that the company may be acquired. Shares of Achillion Pharma (ACHN 9.72, +1.80) traded higher in conjunction with the announcement.

Although earnings season may be unofficially under way, market participants will still have to go without any economic data of consequence until later in the week. Since the earnings season doesn't get going in earnest until next week and economic news will be limited in coming days, trade may remain anemic, even after all of the end-of-year holidays and vacations. With less than 800 million shares traded on the NYSE today, the paltry share volumes of the past couple of weeks do not yet appear to have passed.

Advancing Sectors: Industrials +0.8%, Energy +0.6%, Financials +0.5%, Materials +0.2%, Utilities +0.2%, Health Care +0.2%, Consumer Staples +0.1%
Unchanged: Consumer Discretionary
Declining Sectors: Telecom -0.1%, Tech -0.3%

Source: Briefing

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