Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today:
▲ Dow +0.12 percent
▼ S&P -0.12 percent
▲ Nasdaq +0.03 percent
▼ Oil -0.98 percent
▼ Gold -2.99 percent
On the commodities front:
▼ Oil (NYSE:USO) fell to $105.66 a barrel
▼ Gold (NYSE:GLD) down to $1,643.60 an ounce
▼ Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 4.29 percent to settle at $32.14
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Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Tech: Technology stocks helped support markets today, as Apple continued to perform, with shares hitting a new record of $600 each, while shares of semiconductor companies jumped after LSI Corp. reported strong quarterly results and issued an upbeat outlook for the current quarter. Microsoft and IBM are among the day’s other big winners.
2) Banks: Declining financials countered strength in the technology sector today. Banks led yesterday’s rally on news that most had passed the Federal Reserve’s stress tests, but the mood was more somber on Wednesday as investors punished those banks who fell short. Citigroup shares declined 3.40 percent, leading the day’s losers, which included PNC Financial, Goldman Sachs, and MetLife.
3) Deficit: The U.S. current-account deficit widened in the fourth quarter to $124.1 billion, the biggest such gap in three years, the Commerce Department reported this morning. The deficit was expected to stand at $113.8 billion. The increase in the current-account deficit, which is considered to be the broadest measure of international trade, is a sign of businesses’ growing reliance on foreign funding and imports to replace dated equipment.
[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]