Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today:
- Dow -0.58 percent
- S&P -0.16 percent
- Nasdaq +0.4 percent
- Oil -0.13 percent
- Gold +0.64 percent
On the commodities front:
- Oil (NYSE:USO) fell slightly to $99.57 a barrel
- Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,737 an ounce
- Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbed 0.4 percent to settle at $33
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Today’s markets were mixed because:
Real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2011 (that is, from the 2010 annual level to the 2011 annual level), compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in 2010.
The increase in real GDP in 2011 primarily reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from state and local government spending, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.
2) Greece: As the Greek government continues talks with private creditors on restructuring its debt, its bailout lenders — the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank — are asking Greece to push through more budget cuts and implement a series of long-agreed austerity measures. These things must happen before EU banks release a 130-billion euro bailout package Greece desperately needs if it is to avoid a disorderly default when a 14 billion-euro debt payments comes due on March 20.
Without an agreement with private creditors, Greece also jeopardizes its access to bailout funds, without which it would be next to impossible for the country to avoid default.
3) Earnings: Chevron was the worst-performing stock on the Dow today after the company posted its biggest drop in quarterly earnings in two years, widely missing Wall Street’s estimates. Procter & Gamble was also a big decliner on the blue chip index after the company lowered its outlook for the year. DeVry led the S&P 500′s slide after announcing that earnings plunged 90 percent in the last quarter as the for profit educator’s undergraduate enrollment continued to decline. Starbucks weighed on the Nasdaq after issuing an underwhelming profit outlook, while Ford shares declined after earnings missed forecasts.
[Editor's note: portions of above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]