U.S. equities were mixed amid a busy day on the earnings front, with a sizable miss by 3M pressuring the Dow, overshadowing upbeat results from fellow Dow member Microsoft and Facebook. Treasury yields were mostly higher, and the U.S. dollar was nearly unchanged, as durable goods orders came in stronger than expected, but jobless claims surprisingly jumped. Crude oil prices were lower, paring a recent rally, and gold prices were modestly higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 135 points (0.5%) to 26,462, the S&P 500 Index inched 1 point (0.1%) lower to 2,926, while the NASDAQ Composite gained 17 points (0.2%) to 8,119. In moderate volume, 793 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.0 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil lost $0.41 to $65.89 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was $0.01 lower at $2.07 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price gained $1.80 to $1,277.56 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was unchanged at 98.19.
March preliminary durable goods orders jumped 2.7% month-over-month (m/m), compared to the Bloomberg estimate of a 0.8% gain and February’s upwardly-revised 1.1% drop. Ex-transportation, orders rose 0.4% m/m, above forecasts of a 0.2% rise and compared to February’s downwardly-revised 0.2% dip. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, grew 1.3%, compared to projections of a 0.2% gain, and the prior month’s figure was revised higher to a 0.1% rise from the initially reported 0.1% dip.
Weekly initial jobless claims climbed by 37,000 to 230,000, versus forecasts of a rise to 200,000, with the prior week’s figure being upwardly-revised by 1,000 to 193,000. The four-week moving average rose 4,500 to 206,000, while continuing claims increased by 1,000 to 1,655,000, south of estimates of 1,682,000. Despite the sizeable jump, unemployment claims remain historically low and some economists are noting that the report can be volatile surrounding the Easter holiday.
The April Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity Index declined to 5, from March’s unrevised level of 10, and versus forecasts of a dip to 8. However, a reading above zero denotes expansion.
Treasuries were mostly lower, as the yield on the 2-year note was up 2 basis points (bps) at 2.33%, while the yield on the 10-year note ticked 1 basis point higher to 2.53%, and the 30-year bond rate was unchanged at 2.94%.
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