The main US stock indexes took different directions on Wednesday afternoon, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq Composite pulling back from the record highs reached a day earlier but the Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its winning rally.
The Dow was led by a 2.7% increase in Caterpillar (CAT) and a 2.3% rise in Verizon (VZ). Telecommunication services had a 1.2% advance on the S&P as six sectors of 11 increased, although that wasn’t enough to push the index into the green. Real estate fell 1% and information technology retreated 0.7%.
The mixed moves come as investors digested a slew of economic data that was released ahead of Thursday’s market closure for the Thanksgiving holiday and Friday’s truncated session.
A 4.8% surge in durable goods orders was offset by a greater-than-expected 1.9% drop in new home sales. Initial jobless claims rose by 18,000 to 251,000, more than analysts’ expectations for 15,000.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index increased 0.6% in September, slightly below estimates for a 0.7% gain and the purchasing manager’s preliminary November manufacturing index increased to 53.9 — its fastest pace of growth since early 2015 — from October’s final 53.4, beating estimates for a gain to just 53.5. And the final University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment was revised to 93.6 in November from 91.6 and up from 87.2 in October, reflecting consumers’ optimism in the wake of the recent U.S. presidential election.
Earnings season is cooling off with few companies reporting, although Deere & Co. (DE) surged 11% after the heavy equipment maker reported financial results for the fourth quarter that topped analysts’ estimates. Veeva Systems (VEEV) climbed 9.9% after the provider of industry cloud solution for life sciences reported late Tuesday upbeat earnings and revenue guidance for the current quarter while reporting higher-than-expected results for the most recent quarter.
Eli Lilly (LLY) dropped 11% after saying its solanezumab product designed to treat dimentia associated with Alzheimer’s didn’t meet its primary endpoint during a phase 3 study.
By mid afternoon, the Dow was up 0.2% while the Nasdaq was 0.3% lower and the S&P 500 was down less than 0.1%.
Globally, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2%, the Hang Seng was little changed the Nikkei was closed for a holiday, the FTSE 100 was down less than 0.1% and the CAC 40 retreated 0.4%.