U.S. stocks wavered at the start thanks to better-than-expected data on U.S. housing and jobs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16 points to 11,914. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2 points to 1,268. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell half a point to 2,631. In the retail space, the grocery stocks are performing well. Kroger is jumping 4% following earnings. Smithfield Foods is jumping 5%. Shoemaker, Croc's is up 5% extending a recent rally to new highs. UBS upgraded a number of retailers including Dicks, Home Depot, and Lowes. All three are higher. Pier 1 is down following earnings. Ford is modestly lower after cutting estimates due to higher costs. GM is down in sympathy. Winnebago is weak, down 20% after missing earnings estimates. The financials for the most part are trading higher. Allstate is up even though they will report Regions Financial is lower on a downgrade. The techs are higher for the most part. Intel was downgraded, but the stock is higher. Research in Motion is higher on an upgrade ahead of earnings tonight. The commodities are mixed. The big winner is the natural gas stock Southern Union up 17% after agreeing to be bought out by Energy Transfer Equity. Through the morning the averages improved thanks to encouraging comments out of Europe that the EU and the IMF would help Greece through their credit problems. The Dow rose 80 points while the Nasdaq improved by 8 points. The healthcare sector continues to perform well. Humana is up on an upgrade. WellPoint and United Health Group are higher as well. Through the morning the averages remained strong, however, in the afternoon the rally fizzled. As the afternoon progressed, more and more stocks fell into the red led by commodity, banks, and tech stocks. By mid-afternoon, the Nasdaq declined 32 points and the Dow dipped into the red only to rebound in the last hour into the close. A little more volatility. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 64 points at 11,961. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2 points to 1,267. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 7 points to 2,623.
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