After spending most of the day mired in negative territory, courtesy of softer-than-expected Chinese manufacturing and services sector activity, U.S. equities were able to bounce off their lows of the day to finish mixed. The Dow finished higher, and the S&P 500 added another mark to its column of record closing highs, but a revenue miss by Google parent Alphabet kept the tech-heavy NASDAQ in the red. In other news on the earnings front, Dow members McDonald’s, Merck and Pfizer posted mostly upbeat results, but GM also fell short on revenues. Treasury yields were lower, despite upbeat reads on Consumer Confidence and pending home sales, and the U.S. dollar lost ground, while crude oil prices and gold were higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose 39 points (0.2%) to 26,593, the S&P 500 Index was up 3 points (0.1%) to 2,946, while the NASDAQ Composite decreased 54 points (0.7%) to 8,108. In heavy volume, 1.0 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.0 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil gained $0.41 to $63.91 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.04 at $2.07 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price increased $4.16 to $1,284.06 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was down 0.4% at 97.48.
The Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 129.2 in April, from March’s upwardly-revised 124.2 level, and well above the Bloomberg estimate of 126.8. The Present Situation Index and the Expectations Index of business conditions for the next six months both improved solidly month-over-month (m/m). On employment, the labor differential—consumers’ appraisal of jobs being “plentiful” minus being “hard to get”—rose to 33.5 from the 28.7 level posted in March.
The 20-city composite S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed a 3.0% y/y gain in home prices in February, matching expectations. Month-over-month, home prices were up 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis for February, in line with forecasts.
Pending home sales grew 3.8% m/m in March, versus projections of a 1.5% increase, and following the unrevised 1.0% decrease registered in February. Sales were 3.2% lower y/y. Pending home sales reflect contract signings and are a gauge of the pipeline of existing home sales.
Treasuries were higher, as the yields on the 2-year and 10-year notes, along with the 30-year bond, fell 3 basis points (basis points) to 2.26%, 2.50% and 2.93%, respectively.
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