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Markets closed mixed on Wall Street today: Dow +0.35%, S&P +0.23%, Nasdaq -0.27%, Oil +1.18%, Gold -0.26%.
On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) rose to $103.52 a barrel. Precious metals were down, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) falling to $1,723.90 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) fell 0.25% to settle at $33.22.
Today’s markets were mixed because:
1) Economy. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent in January after holding steady for two consecutive months, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report today, while core inflation rose 0.2 percent, and the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators index ticked up 4 percent.
2) Germany. The one righteous stalwart remaining in the euro zone, Germany took a hit today when President Christian Wulff unexpectedly resigned. Though the German presidency is largely symbolic, Chancellor Angela Merkel must now undergo what could prove to be a politically divisive search for Wulff’s replacement, just when European leaders are meant to be hammering out a bailout deal with Greece.
3) Companies. H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) and Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) shares edged higher after beating earnings estimates, while Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) went the opposite direction as yearly profits missed targets. Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) beat estimates, but shares declined as the company issued a poor revenue outlook for the current quarter. Brightcove (NASDAQ:BCOV) shares rocketed as high as 35 percent today in the stock’s market debut, with shares initially priced at $11 in its IPO rising above $15, but it was a bad day for drugmakers Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), which both closed the day lower after the former said the majority of patients involved in a hepatitis C treatment experienced a relapse within four weeks, while the latter had to recall more than half a million bottles of Infants’ Tylenol because of consumer complaints about the difficulties of using the dosing system.
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