Market Recap: Oracle Drags Nasdaq Lower as Software Shares Decline

Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow +0.03%, S&P +0.19%, Nasdaq -0.99%, Oil +1.64%, Gold +0.05%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $98.83 a barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing slightly to $1,618.40 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.53% to settle at $29.38.

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Today’s markets were mixed because:

1) Existing home sales. A report on existing home sales in November came in well below forecasts, while the National Association of Realtors also downwardly revised its existing home sales figures for the last four years by an average of 14.3 percent. The previously reported figures were inaccurate because of flawed data analysis, which artificially made it appear as though more homes were being sold than was in reality the case.

2) ECB. Ahead of opening bell in New York on Wednesday, markets in Europe and stock futures in the U.S. climbed higher after the European Central Bank announced it had injected 489 billion euros into the region’s banks as part of its new three-year loan program, which is meant to shore up lenders’ finances and address the euro-zone debt crisis. Investors initially read the figure, which was well above an expected 300 billion euros, as a positive sign, but later began to question whether the large sum means banks could be in more trouble than initially expected, using the money to stay afloat as other sources of lending dry up.

3) Software. Software dragged the Nasdaq lower today, as investors grew concerned that the sharp fall-off in earnings at Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) could signal a broader slowdown in consumer spending and in the technology sector. Oracle was by far the Nasdaq’s biggest drag, falling 11.66 percent, but competitors including Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT), TIBCO Software (NASDAQ:TIBX), and Teradata (NYSE:TDC) dropped more than 5 percent.

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