Markets closed mixed on Wall Street: Dow +0.36%, S&P +0.30%, Nasdaq -0.28%, Crude -1.98, Gold +0.63%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) continued to fall, closing at $93 a barrel, while precious metals were both up slightly, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) adding nearly $10 to close at $1,539 and Silver (NYSE:SLV) showing modest gains of 0.87%, about 30 cents.
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Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Greece gets on track. Sort of. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy both spoke Friday in a joint news conference, stressing the fact that they were working to preserve the stability of the euro while nearing a consensus on how to handle Greece’s bailout that won’t require private sector involvement while also (hopefully) preventing restructuring and default. The EU breathed a small, collective sigh of relief after the conference, and the euro made a 1.28% gain against the U.S. dollar.
2) Conflicting Data. Again. The Conference Board announced today that the Leading Economic Index for the U.S. showed an increase of 0.8% last in May, but a Thomson Reuters survey showed that consumer sentiment in June dropped even more than had been expected after being up in May. In the meantime, the housing market continues to be poor, and unemployment is a consistent problem. Despite yesterday’s announcement that jobless claims had decreased, companies like Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) are having lay off workers as net profits and revenue continue to decline.
3) Gas Prices. The one tiny beacon of hope comes in the form of lower gas (NYSE:UGA) prices, which continue to fall off record highs last month. Crude was trading over $100 a barrel last week but is now down around $93 today, with gas prices between $3.50 and $3.70 in most states, well below the $4-plus many were seeing in May.