July 21, 2017

Stocks Stall, Wary of Fed Action and Budget Showdown

Uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s next step and the potential for a budget showdown in Washington led stock markets to a mixed close on Tuesday.

By the end of trading, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was 0.3 percent lower, the Dow Jones industrial average was 0.4 percent lower and the Nasdaq composite gained just under 0.1 percent.

Investors initially celebrated when the Federal Reserve said last week it would refrain from cutting back its huge economic stimulus program. The $85 billion in monthly asset purchases by the Fed helped pump life into the economy and stock markets, but enthusiasm has waned as the reasoning behind the decision — that the United States economy is still weak — began to sink in.

Still, the central bank is still expected to scale back its purchases at one of its upcoming meetings — in late October, in mid-December or sometime early next year, so “tapering” is not off the table.

Tuesday’s data did little to cement expectations of when the Fed may act. A house price report from the Standard Poor’s Case-Shiller index and a consumer confidence survey from the Conference Board were a little softer than expected.

The approaching budget battle between the White House and Republican lawmakers also threw an element of uncertainty at markets. The government will reach its borrowing limit, or debt ceiling, by Oct. 1. If Congress does not raise that limit, the government will not be able to pay all its bills.

Republicans are demanding that any increase must result in expenditure cuts of an equal amount. President Obama is demanding a debt-limit increase with no conditions attached.

“The re-emergence of debt ceiling concerns, along with muddled central bank guidance, has helped to inspire caution rather than risk,” said Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at IG.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.2 percent at 6,571.46 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 percent to 8,664.60. The CAC 40 in France ended 0.6 percent higher at 4,195.61.

Asian stocks were mostly lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.1 percent, to close at 14,732.61 points. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.8 percent, to 23,179.04. Australia’s SP/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent, to 5,234.20. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent, to 2,007.10.

Trading elsewhere was muted. Among currencies, the euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.3481 while the dollar was flat at 98.80 yen. In the oil markets, a barrel of benchmark New York crude was trading 22 cents lower at $103.37.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/25/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Uncertainty Over Fed Stimulus Leads Markets Lower

The stock market slipped on Thursday, ending a seven-day winning streak for the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index, as a drop in precious metal prices dragged mining shares lower.

Gold fell $33.50, or 2.5 percent, to $1,330.40 an ounce as traders remained hopeful that the Syria crisis would be resolved without an American military strike.

“Gold is a fear factor commodity, and so hope of a resolution is causing prices to go down a little bit,” said Bryant Evans, portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Management.

Gold prices also came under pressure from continued speculation that the Federal Reserve will begin to wind down its economic stimulus program when it meets next week.

Economic data showed that first-time weekly claims for state unemployment benefits, the last major reading on the labor market before the Fed’s meeting, fell to the lowest level since 2006, but the picture was incomplete because two states did not process all their claims.

The S. P. materials sector fell 1 percent, with Newmont Mining dropping $1.23, or 4.18 percent, to $28.23.

The S. P. 500 fell 5.71 points, or 0.34 percent, to 1,683.42. The index had risen about 3.4 percent over the previous seven sessions.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 25.96 points, or 0.17 percent, to 15,300.64. The Nasdaq composite index was down 9.04 points, or 0.24 percent, at 3,715.97.

Much of the focus of the financial markets has shifted to the Fed policy-making meeting, when a decision is expected about when to reduce its $85 billion-a-month purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities.

Economists at a majority of primary dealers expect the Fed to announce it will cut its bond purchases, according to a recent Reuters poll. But such a move would also indicate the Fed sees the economy in better shape than many think.

Among the stocks on the move on Thursday, Lululemon Athletica slumped $3.73, or 5.4 percent, to $65.29, after the apparel retailer reported second-quarter results and trimmed its outlook.

Shares of Walt Disney gained $1.55, or 2.42 percent, to $65.49, after the media giant said it would increase its stock buybacks.

Also on the upside was NetSol Technologies, which jumped 97 cents, or 9.51 percent, to $11.17, after the software maker reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings nearly doubled.

In the bond market, interest rates were stable. The price of the Treasury’s 10-year note rose
2/32, to 96 17/32, while its yield was unchanged at 2.91 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/13/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Chinese Data, Again, Lifts the Markets

The stock market rose on Tuesday and oil prices fell as the prospect that the United States would attack Syria appeared to fade.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index posted its sixth consecutive gain, its longest winning streak since July.

Investors were relieved that Syria said it was ready to cooperate with a proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control for dismantling. The possibility of resolving the crisis between the United States and Syria without a military attack was also a factor in the stock market’s gain on Monday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 127.94 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 15,191.06. The Standard Poor’s 500 rose 12.28 points, or 0.73 percent, to 1,683.99, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 22.84 points, or 0.62 percent, to 3,729.02.

Crude oil, which settled above $110 a barrel on Friday, lost $2.13, almost 2 percent, to settle at $107.39 a barrel. Even though Syria is not a big oil producer, the possibility of a wider conflict in the Mideast drove oil prices to two-year highs last week.

Despite the recent gains for stocks, Ralph Fogel of Fogel Neale Partners said it was about time for a pullback in the market. He noted that the Dow had more than doubled since the depths of the financial crisis in March 2009.

The years since the crisis have had “almost a straight-up market without a 15 percent correction,” Mr. Fogel said. “That’s a pretty neat move.” He added, “That doesn’t mean you have to have one, but the probability starts to get higher and higher.”

“The next significant move isn’t up 20” percent, he said. “It’s down 20.”

Scott Wren, a senior equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors, said investors remained nervous. “A lot of our clients are sitting on too much cash and are kind of paranoid of the market,” he said.

Among the stocks on the move on Tuesday, Apple dropped $11.53, or 2.3 percent, to close at $494.60 after investors were underwhelmed by its new iPhones.

Urban Outfitters fell $4.36, or 10 percent, to $38.35 after saying its sales increases were weaker than earlier in the year.

In the bond market, interest rates moved higher. The 10-year Treasury note fell 14/32, to 96 1/32, while its yield rose to 2.97 percent from 2.91 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Lower as Worries Over Syria Ease

American stocks fell in a thinly traded session on Friday as investors avoided making large bets before a long weekend with the situation about Syria still uncertain.

Afternoon trading was volatile, with indexes swinging between break-even levels and solid losses as Secretary of State John Kerry said in televised remarks that Syria’s government used poison gas against civilians and made the case for a limited military response.

“People are uneasy not knowing what’s going on,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston. “With that uncertainty and going into the Labor Day holiday, we’re seeing people step back.”

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 30.64 points, or 0.21 percent, at 14,810.31. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index fell 5.20 points, or 0.32 percent, at 1,632.97. The Nasdaq composite index was down 30.44 points, or 0.84 percent, at 3,589.87.

Trading was light ahead of the market holiday on Monday for Labor Day. About 3.99 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below the daily average so far this year of about 6.31 billion shares.

“I tend to view the weakness as a buying opportunity, barring some global crisis,” said Mr. Carey, who helps oversee about $200 billion in assets. “Syria isn’t the crisis in and of itself, but if we do take military action, there could be repercussions.”

It has been a tough month over all for stocks. The S. P. 500 fell 3.1 percent in August and lost 1.8 percent for the week in a third decline in the last four weeks.

The Nasdaq fell 1.9 percent for the week while the Dow slid 1.3 percent in its fourth consecutive weekly loss. For the month, the Dow fell 4.4 percent and the Nasdaq lost 1 percent. Only one of the 30 Dow components, Microsoft, ended higher in August.

Almost 70 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed lower on Friday, while 73 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares ended in negative territory.

Video game companies were among the Nasdaq’s biggest decliners on Friday. Electronic Arts fell 3.37 percent, to $26.64, while Activision Blizzard fell 2.57 percent, to $16.32.

The chip maker OmniVision Technologies tumbled 16.08 percent on earnings weakness. It forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely below expectations as rising competition and a slowdown of smartphone sales in the United States led to an inventory pileup.

Salesforce.com, the best performer in the S. P. 500, jumped 12.55 percent, to $49.13, after the company raised its fiscal 2014 sales outlook and reported better-than-expected revenue and earnings. The Apache Corporation, the oil and gas producer, climbed 8.95 percent, to $85.68. The company said it was selling a 33 percent stake in its Egypt oil and gas business for $3.1 billion to the state-owned Chinese oil giant Sinopec Group.

The price of the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 8/32, to 97 16/32, and its yield rose to 2.79 percent, from 2.76 percent late Thursday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

For the Dow, the Week Goes From Bad to Worst

Stocks fell Friday, closing out what was the worst week of the year for the Dow Jones industrial average.

The market was dragged lower by a weak performance from retailers and companies sensitive to higher interest rates. Home builders and banking stocks were among the best performers.

Stocks had a decent start to the week, but were hit hard the last three days. The Dow retreated 2.2 percent in its worst week in 2013. The broader Standard Poor’s 500-stock index lost 2.1 percent for the week, its second-worst performance of the year.

The possibility of a cutback in the Federal Reserve’s huge bond-buying program in September has roiled the bond market, which has spilled over into stocks. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.83 percent, its highest level since July 2011, from 2.77 percent late Thursday. Its price, which moves in the opposite direction of the yield, fell 16/32 to 97 6/32.

“When yields are going up like this, that’s scary for most equity investors,” said Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at Rosenblatt Securities.

Rising bond yields have a direct impact on the cost of borrowing for everyone — from homeowners trying to refinance their mortgages to companies trying to sell debt — making them a potential long-term drag on the economy. The Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programs were intended to keep the cost of borrowing as low as possible.

On Friday, the S. P. 500 lost 5.49 points, or 0.33 percent, to 1,655.83. The Dow fell 30.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,081.47, and the Nasdaq composite lost 3.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,602.78.

Shares of utilities and telecommunications companies, which typically perform poorly in a higher interest-rate environment, closed broadly lower. Consolidated Edison fell 75 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $56.64, and PGE of California was down 71 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $42.64. Verizon Communications fell 1.7 percent, and ATT, 0.5 percent.

Stocks in companies like utilities, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications are often purchased because they provide a higher-than-normal dividend. As Treasury yields rise, it makes all dividend-paying stocks less attractive to investors because Treasuries can provide a similar return with significantly less risk.

“You try to focus on stocks that usually benefit from higher interest rates — banks are a good example,” said John Fox, who oversees $873 million as co-manager of the FAM Value Fund.

The Dow has fallen 3.7 percent from its high of 15,658.36, which it hit two weeks ago. Even so, it is up 15 percent this year, and the S. P. 500 has climbed 16 percent.

“Keep it in perspective — we’re down modestly from what was an all-time high,” Mr. Fox said.

A multiday sell-off continued for retailers. Nordstrom gave a bleak sales outlook late Thursday that echoed forecasts this week from Walmart and Macy’s. The outlooks have raised worries that American shoppers might be curtailing spending.

Nordstrom’s stock fell $2.90, or 4.9 percent, to $56.43, making it the biggest decliner in the S. P. 500.

The retail industry is a closely watched part of the American economy because consumer spending makes up roughly 70 percent of economic activity. The disappointing outlooks are worrisome because they take into account the lucrative back-to-school shopping season.

“It’s left us scratching our heads,” Mr. Fox said. “It really forces you to ask the question: ‘Is the consumer slowing down?’ ”

Investors have also been concerned about what will happen to the stock market — and the economy — if the Fed begins winding down its bond-buying program in September. Some investors think that the Fed’s program has been a large contributor to the stock market’s record run.

“The big question is, will the Fed eliminate the bond-buying program in September, and, if so, how they will they remove the bond buying,” said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading for LEK Securities.

With the markets declining, investors shifted into a safer asset — gold. Its price rose $10.10, or 0.7 percent, to $1,371.70. Gold had its third-best week this year, rising 3.7 percent.

Also in focus were home builders. The government reported that new home construction was up 6 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted rate of 896,000.

Shares of the home builder PulteGroup closed up 2.3 percent, and Lennar was up 1.8 percent.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Slip Despite Positive Data

Stocks pulled back from record highs Wednesday afternoon.

By the end of trading, the Standard Poor’s 500-share index was 0.4 percent lower and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.2 percent. The Nasdaq composite, after dipping, ended less than a point higher.

The big mover was Apple, which said sales of iPhones helped quarterly profits rise by more than expected. Its shares were 5.2 percent higher.

“Last night’s numbers from Apple were also a welcome respite for the tech sector which has struggled in the current earnings season,” said Andy McLevey, head of dealing at Interactive Investor.

Markit, a financial information company, said its monthly purchasing managers’ index for the 17 European Union countries that use the euro rose for the fourth consecutive month in July, to 50.4 points, from 48.7 the previous month.

The increase, larger than anticipated, suggests the euro zone economy is growing again; anything above 50 points indicates an expansion. Hopes have grown of late that official figures next month may show that the euro zone’s recession, which started in late 2011, may have come to an end in the second quarter.

In Europe Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to close at 8,379.11 while the CAC 40 in France rose 1 percent to 3,962.75. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares ended 0.4 percent higher at 6,620.43. Markit’s P.M.I. survey did little for the euro, which was trading flat, but near recent highs, at $1.3211.

Earlier during the Asian session, Chinese shares were in focus after a survey showed the country’s manufacturing fell to its lowest point in nearly a year. HSBC said its preliminary estimate for its purchasing managers’ index for July declined more than expected, to an 11-month low, another sign of a deepening economic slowdown.

The widely watched report is one of the earliest indicators on the health of China’s economy, the world’s second-biggest after that of the United States. Analysts say the findings pave the way for more disappointment.

The Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China closed 0.5 percent lower, at 2,033.33 points, after falling as much as 1.3 percent.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.3 percent, to 14,731.28 points. Other indexes reversed earlier losses to finish in positive territory. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent, to 21,968.93 points, and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.4 percent, to 1,912.

In the oil markets, the benchmark crude contract for September delivery was down $1.98 at $105.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

S.&P. 500 Again Closes at a Record

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index notched a third consecutive record closing high on Monday and major indexes rose, though disappointing McDonald’s earnings kept the Dow from making significant gains.

Banks and health shares were the day’s best performers, with financials advancing for the 10th time in the past 12 sessions. Bank of America led the group, while United States-listed shares of UBS rose 3.2 percent to $19.23 after the Swiss bank’s second-quarter profit beat forecasts despite a charge to settle a regulatory lawsuit.

At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 1.81 points, or 0.01 percent, at 15,545.55. The S.P. 500 rose 3.44 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,695.53, and the Nasdaq composite added 12.77 points, or 0.36 percent, to 3,600.39.

Analysts said the market is likely to trend higher in the absence of any weak economic news but would need strong earnings and positive forecasts from companies to post large gains.

“Most earnings have been good, maybe not great but good, and as a consequence I think investors continue to show that equities is the asset class of choice for them right now,” said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City. “It’s difficult to see, short of some really strong economic numbers, what could push the market significantly ahead.”

Weaker-than-expected results from McDonald’s, the world’s largest restaurant chain, weighed on the Dow after the company said full-year results would be “challenged” by falling sales in Europe, its biggest market. Its shares lost 2.7 percent to $97.58.

Shares of Netflix fell 6.1 percent in after-hours trading after the company reported a higher profit for the second quarter but added fewer subscribers to its video streaming service than analysts expected.

Five of the S.P. 500 industry sectors advanced in Monday’s session. Trading volume was below average, with 5.2 billion shares changing hands on American exchanges.

The S.P. 500 has added nearly 19 percent so far this year. Recent data showed funds that hold American stocks gained $16.96 billion in the week ended Wednesday, the most since June 2008.

A rise in metal prices lifted materials shares, with Newmont Mining up 5.8 percent to $30.35, enough to lead gains in the S.P. materials sector.

Technology shares also moved higher, with Microsoft adding 1.9 percent to $32.01 after the software maker tumbled 11.4 percent on Friday following dismal results.

The PHLX housing sector index fell 0.8 percent after an unexpected drop in American home resales in June. The data also gave support to bets that the Federal Reserve will extend its rate of bond purchases to support the economy.

September, however, remains the most likely time for the Fed to announce that it will begin scaling back its $85 billion a month in bond purchases, according to a Reuters poll.

Nearly one-third of S.P. 500 companies are expected to report earnings this week, including Apple on Tuesday.

Of the 109 companies in the S.P. 500 that have reported earnings for the quarter, 64.2 percent have beaten analyst expectations, while fewer than half have topped revenue estimates, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Drift Lower, Awaiting Bernanke’s Testimony

Financial markets were lackluster Tuesday as investors paused for breath ahead of testimony from the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke.

In afternoon trading the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index fell 0.4 percent, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq was 0.3 percent lower.

Mr. Bernanke’s comments on Wednesday to lawmakers in Congress could set the tone in markets for the rest of the summer. In particular, investors will be looking for any further guidance on when the Fed will start to reduce its monetary stimulus.

The Fed is currently spending $85 billion a month buying financial assets in the hope of keeping long-term borrowing rates low and stimulating the American economy. The new money created in recent years has been one of the key drivers of markets.

Economic figures in the United States are being largely viewed through the prism of Fed policy. Tuesday’s batch of numbers did little to affect expectations. The 0.3 percent monthly rise in industrial production during June was in line with expectations while the uptick in the annual inflation rate to 1.8 percent from 1.4 percent was largely discounted because it was because of a sharp rise in gasoline prices.

“It’s certainly possible that they could begin tapering their bond purchases later this year, but the absence of higher inflation and the stubbornly high jobless rate suggests that it may not need to do so in the near-term, particularly if those growth expectations fail to materialize,” said Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares fell 0.5 percent to close at 6,556.35 while Germany’s DAX dropped 0.4 percent at 8,201.05. The CAC 40 in France ended 0.7 percent lower at 3,851.03.

Tuesday’s run of corporate news had little impact despite solid earnings from Goldman Sachs and Johnson Johnson. Coca-Cola’s, though, were disappointing as it reported falling profits and weak volume growth, particularly in North America.

Once Mr. Bernanke’s appearance before lawmakers is over, markets, particularly Wall Street, may return their focus to the earnings reports.

“Corporate earnings season is going to play a much bigger part in driving market sentiment in the coming weeks, than it has over the last couple of years,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari. “With investors no longer able to rely on the Fed to drive equity markets higher, they have to make do with focusing more on the fundamentals, and nothing gives us a better overview of these than company earnings reports and their expectations for the coming quarters.”

Earlier in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent to 1,866.36 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat at 21,312.38. China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 2,065.72.

In currency markets, the euro was up 0.6 percent at $1.3143 while the dollar fell 0.5 percent to 99.35 yen.

Oil prices were steady, with the benchmark contract in New York down 23 cents at $106.09 a barrel.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/17/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Investors Parse Fed Report and a Four-Day Rally Fizzles

The Dow slipped and the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index edged up less than a point on Wednesday, interrupting a four-day rally as investors tried to gauge when the Federal Reserve might scale back its economic stimulus.

Minutes from the Fed’s June policy meeting, which were released on Wednesday afternoon, showed that some members of the governing board wanted more reassurance that the labor market was improving before reining in stimulus measures. Even so, consensus built within the Fed that there probably was a need to begin pulling back soon on its monthly bond buying.

The three major stock indexes recovered some ground immediately after the release of the minutes. But those gains were short-lived as investors parsed the details of the minutes.

The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 8.68 points, or 0.06 percent, to end at 15,291.66. The S. P. 500 index inched up just 0.30 of a point, or 0.02 percent, to finish at 1,652.62. The Nasdaq composite index gained 16.50 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 3,520.76.

Investors appeared to be more encouraged by a speech from the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, that was delivered after the market closed. Mr. Bernanke said highly accommodative monetary policy was needed for the foreseeable future and that the unemployment rate at 7.6 percent may be overstating the job market’s health.

His comments sent stock index futures higher. The central bank has said it will continue buying bonds until the labor market outlook improves substantially.

“That is calming market fears,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, N.Y., referring to Mr. Bernanke’s comments. “Speculation that the tapering could be from September is now turning into, ‘Maybe the Fed is going stay longer.’ ”

Mr. Bernanke spooked investors last month when he said the economy’s expansion was strong enough for the central bank to start slowing the pace this year of its monthly purchases of $85 billion in bonds, known as quantitative easing.

Some in the market have pegged September as time when the Fed could start pulling back, but the minutes suggested that was not a foregone conclusion.

The S. P. 500 has risen more than 2 percent over the last five sessions, nearing its high of 1,669.16, reached May 21.

Analysts expect earnings at S. P. 500 companies to grow 2.6 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, while revenue is forecast to increase 1.5 percent, Thomson Reuters data shows.

In government bonds, the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell 9/32 to 92 2/32, sending the yield up to 2.67 percent, from 2.64 percent late Tuesday.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Markets Lose Their Momentum

Stocks on Wall Street closed lower on Tuesday, with early gains eroding.

By the end of trading, markets were nearly flat or lower as both the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index and the Nasdaq composite lost less than a point and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 0.3 percent.

Trading is likely to be thin this week, with Wall Street markets closing early on Wednesday and all of Thursday for the Fourth of July holiday. This lower volume could signify greater volatility, especially with the release of the nonfarm payroll report on Friday.

“While all eyes are on the payroll report, markets are holding up as investors are holding out on the hope that we’ll see higher highs,” said Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York. “We’ll mostly tread water until Friday, but people aren’t selling their gains.”

Wall Street has shown signs of positive momentum recently, with investors becoming more optimistic about the economic outlook since Federal Reserve officials signaled that the central bank’s bond-buying stimulus policy was not ending imminently.

Adding to the positive tone, the Ford Motor Company rose 0.4 percent after reporting “very encouraging” 13.4 percent growth of car sales in June.

Also, the Commerce Department reported that new orders for factory goods rose for a second straight month in May, adding to tentative signs of stabilization in manufacturing after a recent slowdown.

William C. Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke on Tuesday afternoon about national economic conditions.

“If labor market conditions and the economy’s growth momentum were to be less favorable than in the [Federal Open Market Committee]’s outlook—and this is what has happened in recent years—I would expect that the asset purchases would continue at a higher pace for longer,” he said.

His comments were closely scrutinized for clues about when the Fed might begin to scale back its so-called quantitative easing.

Read more of Mr. Dudley’s speech here.

In corporate news, the alcoholic beverage company Constellation Brands fell 3.6 percent after the company reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that missed expectations.

Pfizer and Novartis were said to be considering preliminary bids for Onyx Pharmaceuticals. On Sunday, Onyx turned down an offer of roughly $10 billion from Amgen. Shares in Onyx jumped 3.2 percent.

Shares in Zynga rose 6.5 percent after the company named Don Mattrick, the head of Microsoft’s Xbox business, as its chief executive.

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