U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday after the government hiked its estimate of how the economy performed and investors looked to Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke's speech. "It is like a car travelling at 17 miles per hour in a 55 mile-per-hour speed zone," Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at Davidson Companies, wrote of the economy's performance in an email. "The next potential market-moving event occurs Friday," Dickson added of Bernanke's scheduled talk at an annual symposium in Wyoming. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 15 points to 13,118. The S&P 500 index gained 2 points to 1,411. The Nasdaq Composite rose 6 points to 3,083. Another quiet morning even as Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans and Louisiana. The energy sector is lower in general this morning as no major damage to any oil platforms and refiners in the gulf. Noble Corp and Diamond Offshore were upgraded this morning, but both are modestly lower. Steel and coal stocks are coming under pressure once again. Rare earth produce, Molycorp is bucking the trend up for a second straight day following announced production increases the other day. The materials and industrials have also restarted their downward trend once again. Joy Global is down 4% after missing earnings estimates. Caterpillar is lower as well in sympathy along with Freeport McMoran. The best performing sectors are consumer staples and discretionary. Jos. A Bank is a diamond today up 16% after beating earnings estimates. Zale is also higher on earnings. Molson Coors is higher on an upgrade while Best Buy is lower on concerns private equity won't be interested in buying out the firm. In the tech space, Google continues its' upward trend to a new 52 week high after taking a hit on Monday on the Samsung vs Apple court case. Rival Internet provider in China, Baidu.com continues to come under pressure. Yelp is jumping 21% after their lock up expired. Fusion-io was upgraded, but the stock is lower. Through the first hour the averages went nowhere. Low volatility and low volume have ruled the markets the last several weeks. After the first hour the averages drifted into the red. Healthcare is holding up today. Beaten up HMO, WellPoint is bouncing 7% as their president and CEO is stepping down. The rest of the defensive sector is holding up as well this morning. During the lunch hour and into the afternoon the averages perked up, moving into the green. I'll give Joy Global a lot of credit for the turnaround. The stock dropped over 6% this morning following disappointing earnings, but following a midmorning conference call, the stock has rebounded sharply, rising 2.3% for the day and up 9% from the lows on heavy, heavy volume. Joy Global's turnaround has turned around Caterpillar and the industrial sector in general. If not for light volume on Wall Street, this might be a bigger rally. In the last hour the averages gravitated back toward the unchanged level. Even Joy Global pulled back from its' high. The Dow industrials finished up 4 points at 13,107. The Nasdaq Composite rose 4 points to 3,081, its fourth-winning session in a row. The S&P 500 added a point to 1,410.
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