Markets closed down on Wall Street today: Dow -0.70%, S&P -0.56%, Nasdaq -0.56%, Oil -0.76%, Gold +0.85%.
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Today’s markets were down because:
1) Debt-ceiling impasse. Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the last few months, you know that Congress is seemingly no closer to reaching a deal for raising the debt ceiling by the Treasury’s August 2 deadline, which is now just over a week away. Whenever lawmakers appear to have advanced in their discussions, markets jump, and whenever discussions fall apart, as inevitably do, markets drop. But for the most part, investors have become insulated to the daily fluctuations. While the three major indices are down today, none are suffering huge losses. Instead investors are waiting like a deer in the headlights to see what the car will do before making a move. It’s almost impossible to fathom that our elected officials could be so unbending and unscrupulous as to allow the country to default on its obligations, but then again, that’s the course they’re on right now. At this point, no one really has any idea which way this thing will go, and that’s reflected in today’s stagnant market.
2) Thursday. After huge gains last Thursday, markets were bound to be hungover. We were told that Obama and Boehner were close to reaching a budget deal that would raise the debt ceiling. That didn’t happen. We were told that European leaders finally had a plan to save Greece, but it didn’t stop Greek bonds from being cut to junk. Meanwhile, last week’s jobless claims figures, at first lost in the warm haze of childlike optimism that characterized investor sentiment on Thursday, have reared their ugly head, and investors are perhaps realizing that solutions to the biggest problems facing global markets aren’t necessarily going to effect a major improvement of the economy, only prevent its further decay. What we ultimately need to bring us back from the brink are for the jobs and housing markets to improve, and so far we aren’t really making any progress in those arenas, nor have lawmakers paid them much attention as they continue to squabble over a deal that should have been finalized months ago. Don’t Miss: 3 Top Crooks Still Roaming Free After the Economic Crash.
3) Tech. While Boeing (NYSE:BA), Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV), and Bank of America (NYSE:BA) were among some of the biggest drags on the Dow, with 26 of its 30 components in the red today, the index got a boost from tech companies Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), both climbing over 1% today. But Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was probably today’s biggest standout, at one point touching a record $400 a share before settling the day up 1.32% to $398.50. The tech giant’s share price has gained 9.2% since its earnings report last week. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) gained 1.79% today in anticipation of its afternoon earnings report.