March 3, 2021

Stocks Flat on Wall Street After Mixed Data

Stocks on Wall Street dipped early on Tuesday after new reports showing a mixed economic recovery, but they then recovered some ground, putting the Dow Jones industrial average on track to break even for the year so far.

The United States markets were digesting a full agenda of economic data.

Residential real estate prices in the United States were higher by 3.6 percent in the second quarter of 2011, according to the Standard Poor’s/Case-Shiller national home price index. But it showed an annual decline of 5.9 percent when compared with the second quarter of 2010. Home price levels for June 2011 were below those of June last year.

In addition, the Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to 44.5 in August from 59.2 in July. But analysts noted that such data often has a temporary effect on the markets.

“The consumer confidence survey was decidedly negative but the effect of that should wear off as we go forward,” said Russell Price, the senior economist with Ameriprise Financial.

Joshua Shapiro, chief United States economist at MFR Inc., noted that the consumer confidence index was at its lowest level in more than two years, since a level of 40.8 in April 2009.

By noon, the Dow and the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index were marginally higher, while the Nasdaq composite index was up 0.5 percent.

Stocks on Wall Street had surged on Friday, propelling indexes closer to covering their shortfalls for the month and the year. By Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average had closed to within 38 points of where it started the year.

Investors were also anticipating the release of the Federal Reserve minutes on Tuesday afternoon and, on Friday, the national jobs report.

The Fed minutes are likely to give the markets a more information about the central bank board’s last meeting on Aug. 9, in which three members dissented on a vote that promised two more years of low rates. It was the first time in almost 20 years that at least three members recorded votes in dissent.

Financial and energy stocks were down by more than 1 percent each in early trading.

Exxon Mobil, which signed an agreement on Tuesday with Russia’s top crude oil producer, Rosneft , declined 1.32 percent and was the most widely traded share on the energy index.

Oil prices were slightly higher. Crude futures for October, traded in New York, were up slightly at $88.16 a barrel. Spot gold was more than 2 percent higher at $1,828.45 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield fell to 2.173 percent, from 2.257 percent late on Monday.

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