Market Recap: Trading Thin as Markets Await EU Summit

Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow +0.38%, S&P +0.20%, Nasdaq -0.o1%, Oil -0.75%, Gold +0.80%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) remained flat at $100.52 a barrel. Precious metals were mixed, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbed to $1,745.70 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.58% to settle at $32.56.

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Today’s markets were mixed because:

1) S&P. Trading was thin today as markets struggled to recover after Standard & Poor’s decision to put 15 euro nations on watch for a possible credit downgrade on Monday. News was sparse today, and though European leaders and policymakers seem to be moving toward an agreement on how to effectively shore up finances, enforce strict budgetary guidelines, and boost banks’ liquidity, investors are understandably skeptical, given that leaders have agreed upon numerous “comprehensive” packages this year that quickly fizzled. Germany’s downbeat assessment of prospects for an agreement didn’t help matters. Investors will likely remain cautious until the summit in Brussels at the end of the week.

2) Banks. Financials rallied despite Standard & Poor’s placing some of the largest rated banking groups in the euro zone on creditwatch with negative implications, adding that it could also cut credit ratings for several U.S. regional banks, including US Bancorp (NYSE:USB), PNC Financial Services (NYSE:PNC), and BB&T (NYSE:BBT). Among the major U.S. banks, Citigroup (NYSE:C) was the worst performer, just tacking on 0.27% after announcing that it would cut almost 4,500 jobs worldwide — almost 2 percent of its workforce. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) all climbed 2% to 5%.

3) Energy. The energy sector was the biggest drag on the market today as oil dipped below $100 a barrel mid-day after a bearish weekly oil inventory report. Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) were the sector’s worst performers. Still, many other oil stocks joined a late rally, with Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) clawing their way to modest gains after an otherwise relatively flat day of trading.

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