Wednesday, January 16, 2013
U.S. stocks remained in an extremely tight range Wednesday with the S&P 500 fractionally higher and the NASDAQ up 0.2%. The S&P 500 has been stuck just under resistance created by the September 2012 intraday high the past five sessions, just under 1475. Despite a big rebound in the stock of Apple and earning reports from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs that Wall Street liked, the index was unable to make any substantial progress.
The Fed's beige book report along with government reported inflation were the key economic indicators for the day:
- The U.S. economy expanded at either a modest or moderate pace across the country into early January, as spending and hiring were held down by concerns over fiscal policy, according to the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book survey. Concerns about tax and spending policies also impacted housing in at least one region, the survey found. Manufacturing activity was mixed, with three of the 12 Fed regions reported a decline in factory output.
- The labor market, a key focus of Fed officials, was seen as mostly unchanged. Several districts reported delayed hiring, often in defense manufacturing, due to fiscal cliff uncertainties.
- The U.S. government's key measure of inflation showed that consumer prices slowed to a 1.7% annual increase last month -- mostly due to a decline in gas prices.
Crude oil jumped 1% to $94.24, gold fell fractionally to $1683.20, and silver gained fractionally to $31.54.
Britain fell 0.2%, Germany gained 0.2%, and France added 0.3%.
Japanese stocks fell 2.6% and Chinese stocks 0.7%. Most of Japan's drop was a reversion to mean situation as the Nikkei has had a tremendous run the past month and was at a 32 month high.