Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow -0.15%, S&P +0.11%, Nasdaq -0.04%, Oil +2.00%, Gold +0.02%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $107.21 a barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) rising slightly to $1,659.80 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.60% to settle at $32.53.
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Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Data. Inflation rose 0.4 percent in February after rising 0.2 percent the previous month, justifying fears that had consumer sentiment down this month according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan sentiment index. Higher gas prices were responsible for most of the rise, and could hurt consumer spending. Industrial production was unchanged in February, according to a Federal Reserve report today, disappointing after expectations for a 0.5 percent increase.
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2) Tech. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) shares were flat today after climbing in the weeks preceding the iPad’s debut. Likewise, AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) didn’t seem to benefit from the iPad’s launch today, even though the two companies have exclusive rights to provide coverage for the 4G models. Sprint (NYSE:S) was one of the sector’s few standouts today, climbing more than 3 percent on news it ended its $9 billion agreement with LightSquared to build a high-speed wireless service.
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3) Oil. Higher oil and gas prices are a serious threat to the economic recovery, as Americans forced to spend more at the pump have less to spend on other consumer goods. The U.S. and U.K. are considering strategic reserves releases, but neither President Barack Obama’s administration nor Prime Minister David Cameron will admit to having serious talks on the matter. Meanwhile, tensions with Iran have kept oil prices high, with Brent crude around $126 a barrel today and WTI, the American standard, up 2 percent today to $107.21.
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