The Dow was flat today after an afternoon spike in share value didn’t stick. It gained 0.04% on the day to finish at 17,673.02. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 were both down, with NASDAQ falling -0.23% to 4,716.70 and the S&P 500 shedding -0.42% to close at 2,041.51. In overseas trading, Japan’s Nikkei was the biggest gainer, piling on almost 2% in order to close at 17,678.74 despite a weakening Yen.
Apple’s Success Buoys Tech Manufacturing – Device manufacturer and software giant Apple’s (AAPL) strong Q4 earnings pushed its share price higher today. Apple closed up 0.77% to 119.56 per share, continuing to trend toward increased growth. Chipmaker ARM Holdings (ARMH), which is responsible for many of the most important electronic components in every Apple device, was also up 2.67% to close at 48.90. Over 5 days, ARM Holdings has added 3.14% and the company is up 5.62% on the year to date.
A Big Day for Retail Trade – Consumer confidence is driving the retail sector upward after generally solid Q4 earnings reports. The biggest mover is the luxury goods holding company Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), which manufactures and distributes everything from high-end handbags to premium alcoholic beverages. The company shot up 9.04% today, and closed at 176.38 per share. Other retailers who had an outstanding day include Kohls Corp (KSS) with 6.35% gains to 66.87 and 1-800-FLOWERS.com (FLWS) which grew 7.17% to 9.57 heading into Valentine’s Day.
Oil Steadies At Just Under $50 per Barrel – The American energy sector is still a mess as investors question whether or not crude has finally found a bottom. Oil closed at $48.45 per barrel, down -8.67% on the day’s regular trading. Energy as a whole was today’s biggest loser, with the sector shedding -4.75% to push the Dow as a whole lower.
Health Services Sector Looking Solid – The health services sector has seen a comeback, beginning in mid-January. The sector is up 7.37% over 3 months, due to a surge in the industry as more Americans add insurance coverage. Merge Healthcare Inc (MRGE) was up 11.70% today, closing at 4.20. VCA Inc (WOOF) also added 1.18% to close at 53.06. The sector as a whole also has success stories like PharMerica Corp (PMC) which was flat today, losing -0.04% to close at 24.35, but still up 17.58% on the year to date.
Office Depot/Staples Merger Movement Continues – After surprising the market with talks of a merger yesterday, Office Depot (ODP) and Staples (SPLS) saw their share price continue to move in the wake of the news. Staples saw yesterday’s gains collapse as their value fell -12.02% to 16.73. On the other hand, Office Depot added 2.26% on top of yesterday’s 21.63% gains.
Currency and Commodities – The US Dollar strengthened against most currencies today, gaining 1.20% against both the Canadian Dollar and the Euro. The Mexican Peso fell 1.44% and the British Pound was down 0.83%. The Australian Dollar made some small gains, rising 0.13% versus the US Dollar. Commodities were largely flat, although the cost of a gallon of gasoline did fall -3.34% to $2.66. Gold and silver rose by less than half of a point each.