After a rough morning, the U.S. equity markets curbed most of their losses and ended the day on a relatively flat note. Gloomy economic data from Europe and Japan was counter-balanced by strong business activity in the U.S., highlighted by earnings and a major buyout.
At the close: DJIA: -0.07%, S&P 500: +0.07%, NASDAQ: +0.06%.
On the commodities front, WTI crude oil (NYSEARCA:USO) climbed 0.30 percent to $97.30 per barrel, while Brent climbed 0.12 percent to $118.02 per barrel. Yesterday, the EIA reported that crude inventories were well above the upper limit of their average range for this time of the year. The national average price for regular gasoline for the week ended February 8 increased for the eighth consecutive period to $3.611 per gallon.
Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, fell $9.60 to settle at $1,635.50 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March dropped 52 cents to close at $30.35. Both precious metals experienced weakness as the U.S. dollar climbed higher. The latest report on gross domestic product in the euro zone provided support to the greenback. In the fourth quarter of 2012, GDP in the euro zone declined 0.6 percent from the third quarter, missing all estimates.
The yield on the 10-year T-Bill fell 0.031 points to 1.998 percent.