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Market Recap: Mixed Economic Data Makes for Quiet Trading Session

Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today:

  • Dow +0.17 percent
  • S&P +0.01 percent
  • Nasdaq -0.01 percent
  • Oil +0.44 percent
  • Gold +0.80 percent

On the commodities front:

  • Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $103.41 a barrel
  • Gold (NYSE:GLD) rose to $1,613.30 an ounce
  • Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 1.44 percent to settle at $29.16

(Related: EU Embargo Agreement on Iranian Imports Puts Pressure on Oil Prices)

Today’s markets were mixed because:

1) Europe: Early reports that Spain might seek rescue funding dampened sentiment, but a spokeswoman for the Spanish government told CNN such reports were “a complete lie” and “radically false.” But while a purchasing manager’s index showed Germany’s private sector to be recovering, demand for Italian debt declined and Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos warned that if his government is unable to secure an agreement with international creditors on a new economic plan, Greece could be forced into disorderly default as soon as March.

2) Factory Orders: Though new orders for factory goods rose in November, business spending on capital declined, the Commerce Department reported today. After two consecutive months of declines, orders for manufactured goods increased 1.8 percent in November, the most since July, on demand for transportation equipment. However, closely-tracked shipments for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a measure of business confidence and spending plans, fell 0.8 percent in November following a 0.9 percent drop in October, indicating that businesses may be pulling back on capital spending.

3) Stocks: In a relatively thin day of trading, individual stocks became the center of attention as Yahoo! appointed a new chief executive officer and Eastman Kodak prepared to file for Chapter 11. Today, Honda reported a 19 percent decline in sales for December, while Boeing’s  announcement that it would be shutting down plants and laying off thousands of workers demonstrated the economic reality of a shrinking defense budget.

[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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