Equities started the day in green territory and gave into selling pressures throughout the day as investors digested less-than-stellar economic and earnings reports. The S&P 500 sat at the bottom of the barrel, clinching a 0.58% loss on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average proved to be most resilient, finishing with a minor 0.18% loss. Gold extended its rally from yesterday as investors were prompted to reallocate assets to safer corners of the market amidst the disappointing data releases. Futures prices for the precious yellow metal settled near $1,720 an ounce as the trading session drew to a close.
Stocks gave into profit taking pressures as investors digested mixed reports; AT&T and SanDisk missed analyst earnings expectations while new home sales also came in worse-than-expected [see also Early ETF Stars Of 2012]. On the other hand, U.S. durable goods orders came in at 3% for the month of December, beating analyst estimates of 2.4%. The news wasn’t all bad on the corporate front either, as Netflix and Caterpillar both rallied after surpassing earnings estimates.
The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) was one of the best performers on the day, clinching an impressive 2.72% gain, amidst an otherwise rocky trading session. Solar stocks have gotten off to a stellar start this year and many are up double digits, in fact, TAN is up over 20% year-to-date alone. Ongoing tensions in the Middle East continue to weight on the outlook for fossil fuel prices, which has in turn rekindled interest in “green energy”, paving the way higher for the alternative energy sector [see The Ultimate Guide To Solar Power Investing].
The State Street SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was one of the worst performers, shedding 1.3% on the day. Homebuilders stocks plummeted dragging down XHB as investors reacted to a worse-than-expected new home sales report. The figure came in at 307,000 for the month of December, which missed analyst estimates of 325,000 and also fell short of the previous reading of 314,000. Despite today’s profit taking, XHB is still up over 10% year-to-date [see XHB Returns].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.