DJ30 PointChange: +46.24 Level: 12196.37 NASDAQ PointChange: -0.35 Level: 2649.21 NQ100 PercentChange: +0.0 R2K PercentChange: -0.1 SP400 PercentChange: -0.2 SP500 PointChange: +2.54 Level: 1261.01 NASDAQ-Adv:1167 Dec: 1327 NYSE-Adv:1584 Dec: 1407
Efforts to overcome early losses looked like they would end with stocks
at the flat line for the second straight session, but a late squeeze
gave the broad market a modest gain as participants spent the final
minutes positioning themselves for the European Central Bank's monetary
policy statement and the outcome of a summit of eurozone officials later
Sellers sent the major averages down to marked losses in the opening
minutes, but the tone of trade strengthened when financials began to
offer leadership following word that results from recent EBA stress
tests will be released tomorrow. Financials were down about 1% at their
session low, worked their way up to the flat line, and then squeezed
higher into the close for a 1.2% gain. Financials were among the poorest
performers in early trade, but boasted the biggest gains by the finish.
Health care stocks make up the day's the second best performing
sector, but their 0.6% advance is only half of what the financial sector
scored. Pharmaceutical play Pfizer (PFE 20.47, +0.24)
provided leadership to the sector for the second straight session. The
stock, along with a few other blue chips, also helped keep the Dow out
in front of its counterparts for the second day in a row.
The market's path to a gain was interrupted for a time by reports
that analysts at S&P may be questioning the European Union's
top-notch credit rating. The potential for a downgrade comes amid
persistently precarious conditions in the region, so the threat of a
negative revision wasn't regarded as anything new, but it did remind
traders of the headline risk associated with Europe.
Although stocks stretched higher during the last leg of trade, their
position was pared in the final few minutes. That left the major
averages to settle shy of session highs.
Financials +1.2%, Health Care +0.6%, Consumer Discretionary +0.5%,
Telecom +0.2%, Tech +0.1%, Consumer Staples +0.1%, Materials +0.1%
Declining Sectors: Industrials -0.2%, Utilities -0.3%, Energy -0.3%