Stocks managed to gain minor ground on Wednesday.

  • The Dow rose 18 points to 15470. The S&P 500 Index gained over 4 points to 1680. The NASDAQ was up by 11 points to 3610.
  • The major averages traded in a tight range as investors analyzed Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to Congress. His semiannual report revealed the central bank’s timetable for tapering its stimulus measures is not on a preset course and the Fed’s policy will remain accommodative as the economy recovers.
  • Wednesday’s economic data was on the back burner. Housing starts unexpectedly declined by 9.9% in June to nearly a one-year low and building permits also failed to meet expectations as they fell by 7.5%.
  • Overall, nine of the 10 sectors on the S&P finished in positive territory. Materials paced the advance as DuPont rallied 4.7% to $56.96. Financials also helped lift the market. Bank of America’s encouraging profit tally led the group higher as its shares increased 2.6% to $14.28. Utilities finished lower, dragged down by PG&E Corp’s 2.7% drop to $45.12. Technology also lagged behind. Yahoo’s 10.3% advance to $29.65 was overshadowed by index heavyweight Microsoft’s 1.6% retreat to $35.69. The sector will also garner attention after the close with earnings results due out from Intel and IBM.
  • NYSE Composite volume totaled over 3.1 billion shares. On the NYSE, advancers beat decliners by 2-1 on issues and on volume. The NASDAQ was 10-7 positive on issues and 11-6 positive on volume.
  • In fixed-income, Treasury prices advanced. The 10-year note was up 12/32 to yield 2.49% and the 30-year bond gained 7/32 to yield 3.57%.

For the complete economic report, click Ken's Market Report.