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The major averages registered modest midweek gains with the S&P 500 (+0.5%) ending ahead of the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%).
Overall, the Wednesday session was very quiet as the key indices spent the day in a slow advance. Intraday trading volume highlighted that dynamic, but more than 735 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor by the close, representing the highest total of the week.
All ten sectors registered gains with the top-weighted technology sector (+1.1%) ending in the lead. The influential group was underpinned by daylong strength in shares of MasterCard (MA 91.20, +3.43) and Visa (V 68.01, +2.66) after it was reported China will allow foreign card processors to compete with UnionPay, which is the only company that processes yuan-denominated card payments at this time. Meanwhile, tech heavyweights like Apple (AAPL 128.62, +1.71), Google (GOOGL 549.18, +6.25), and Microsoft (MSFT 42.98, +0.35) joined the rally in progress.
On the earnings front, Broadcom (BRCM 46.18, +2.20) and VMWare (VMW 91.00, +5.60) posted respective gains of 5.0% and 6.6% after beating estimates while EMC (EMC 27.13, +0.81) rallied 3.1% despite missing estimates and guiding lower.
Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, financials (+0.7%) and energy (+0.6%) outperformed while the remaining sectors settled closer to their flat lines. Notably, the energy sector finished among the leaders even though crude oil fell 0.6% to $56.28/bbl.
Moving to the countercyclical side, the health care sector (+0.2%) was among the early leaders after Amgen (AMGN 169.10, +0.64) beat earnings estimates and guided higher; however, the stock narrowed its gain to 0.4% by the close after being up more than 2.5% at the start. Similarly, the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 363.84, -0.66) surrendered its early gain and ended lower by 0.2%, which contributed to the underperformance of the Nasdaq Composite.
Going back to earnings, three Dow components reported their results today with Coca-Cola (KO 41.31, +0.53) and McDonald's (MCD 97.84, +2.97) posting respective gains of 1.3% and 3.1%. Shares of KO rallied in reaction to a bottom-line beat while McDonald's advanced despite missing earnings expectations. Also of note, Boeing (BA 151.19, -2.14) fell 1.4% after below-consensus revenue overshadowed better than expected earnings.
Treasuries slumped during morning action and extended their losses in the afternoon, sending the 10-yr yield higher by seven basis points to 1.98%.
Economic data included Existing Home Sales, FHFA Housing Price Index, and MBA Mortgage Index:
Existing home sales for March were reported to have increased 6.1% from February to an annualized rate of 5.19 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.05 million
The FHFA Housing Price Index for February rose 0.7%, which followed an unrevised increase of 0.3% in January
The weekly MBA Mortgage Index rose 2.3% to follow last week's 2.3% decline
Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims will be released at 8:30 ET (Briefing.com consensus 288K) while the New Homes Sales report for March will cross the wires at 10:00 ET (consensus 520K).
Nasdaq Composite +6.3% YTD
Russell 2000 +5.1% YTD
S&P 500 +2.4% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.2% YTD
All comments contained herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security. The firm does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information or make any warranties regarding results from it's usage.