June 24, 2024

News From Egypt Stymies Indexes

The stock market ended slightly lower on Tuesday after reports of intensifying political turmoil in Egypt offset good news about the American economy.

Stocks rose much of the day on positive news about car sales, manufacturing and home prices. But the major market indexes turned lower in the afternoon as hundreds of thousands of protesters demand that President Mohamed Morsi be ousted.

The price of oil climbed close to $100 a barrel on concern that the crisis could disrupt the flow of crude oil from the region.

“It’s more or less Egypt unrest,” said Sal L. Arnuk, a co-founder of Themis Trading. “These very large protests are being televised and broadcast — that’s spooking people.”

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index, which had been up as much as 9 points shortly before midday, closed down 0.88 point, or 0.1 percent, at 1,614.08.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42.55 points, or 0.3 percent, to 14,932.41 The Nasdaq composite index slipped 1.09 points, a fraction of a percent, at 3,433.40

Trading activity was lighter than normal as July 4 holiday nears. The stock market will close at 1 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday and reopen Friday.

Crude oil rose about $1 a barrel on news of the worsening political situation in Egypt. Oil closed up $1.61 at $99.60 a barrel in New York. It last crossed $100 on Sept. 14.

The market’s early gains came after several strong economic reports. Auto sales reached 7.8 million in the first six months of the year, the highest first-half total since 2007. Factory orders rose 2.3 percent in May, helped by a third straight month of stronger business investment. And home prices jumped 12.2 percent in May from a year earlier, the most in seven years, according to the real estate data provider CoreLogic. Economists are forecasting that the American economy added 165,000 jobs last month, according to data compiled by FactSet.

Investors and traders are also starting to focus on the quarterly corporate earnings season, which begin in earnest next week. Most corporate profits have come from cutting costs rather than increasing sales.

“We’re in the middle of a transition,” said Christopher J. Wolfe, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. “You would expect to see, over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macroeconomic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth.”

In the bond market, interest rates showed little change. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note, rose 1/32, to 93 23/32, while its yield slipped to 2.47 percent, from 2.48 percent late Monday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/03/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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