The Week In Review
5/20-5/24/13On Monday, the major averages registered slim losses after intraday action saw the Russell 2000 cross above the 1,000 level for the first time. The lack of conviction was owed in part to a lack of stirring catalysts. M&A activity was among the notable developments as Yahoo! (YHOO 26.33, +0.31) acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Stocks ended Tuesday's session modestly higher as the S&P 500 climbed 0.2% and the Dow added 0.4% to register its 19th consecutive Tuesday of gains. Equity indices saw little change during morning action, but afternoon buying interest helped lift the three averages to session highs. Most cyclical sectors (with the exception of materials and technology) finished among the leaders, but the defensively-geared health care sector settled atop the leaderboard as biotechnology continued its strong run with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 180.74, -0.53) advancing 1.0%.
Wednesday saw the S&P 500 settle lower by 0.8% after early strength turned into afternoon weakness. From highs to lows, the S&P fell 1.9% as investors focused on Ben Bernanke's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. During his remarks, Chairman Bernanke said premature tightening of monetary policy could stall the pace of recovery. Equities spiked at the start of the testimony, but sellers made their presence known this afternoon as the major averages slumped to session lows. The utilities and telecom sectors led to the downside as traders continued to dump income-oriented names. Elsewhere, the energy space lost 1.2% as crude oil declined 2.1%. The energy component ended at $94.18 per barrel, and weighed on the growth-sensitive sector.
On Thursday, the major averages ended modestly lower with the S&P 500 shedding 0.3%. The benchmark average saw an opening loss of 1.2% after Japan's Nikkei tumbled 7.3%. Japanese stocks sold off amid continued volatility in Japanese Government Bond futures as the 10-yr yield spiked to 1.002 before the Bank of Japan's JPY2 trillion liquidity injection caused yields to slide back to session lows. Adding insult to injury was news out of China where the HSBC Flash Manufacturing PMI (49.6 actual, 50.5 consensus, 50.4 prior) fell below 50 for the first time in seven months. The utilities sector was the weakest performer, ending lower by 0.8% after a morning flash crash in American Electric Power (AEP 47.71, -0.57) and NextEra Energy (NEE 77.30, -0.92) briefly wiped out more than $33 billion in combined market capitalization.