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Mixed finish for US stocks

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investors await earnings reports at Wall Street

U.S. stocks closed in a mixed mode on Monday, 22 APril 2019 with the tech-heavy Nasdaq finishing at a six-month high, as investors face a big week for corporate quarterly results and economic data following an extended holiday weekend. Investors were also monitoring a jump in crude-oil prices as the U.S. said it would end waivers for countries that import Iranian crude.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 48.49 points, or 0.2%, to 26,511.05, while the S&P 500 index rose 2.94 points, or 0.1%, to 2,907.97, and the Nasdaq Composite index gained 17.20 points, or 0.2%, to 8,015.27, its highest close since Oct. 3.

U.S. markets were closed Friday in observance of Good Friday, and most European stock markets remained closed for Easter Monday.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.2%.

Reviewing Monday's economic data, which included Existing Home Sales for March; existing home sales decreased 4.9% month-over-month in March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million (consensus 5.37 million) from a downwardly revised 5.48 million (from 5.51 million) in February. Total sales were 5.4 % lower than the same period a year ago. The key takeaway from the report is that rising prices, and a lack of homes at more affordable price points, continue to keep overall sales activity in check.

Separately, the Chicago Fed national activity index rose to negative 0.15 March from negative 0.31 in February. A zero value indicates the national economy is expanding at a trend rate of growth while negative values indicate below-trend growth and positive readings indicate above-trend.

Shares of Boeing shed 1.3% to weigh on the Dow after the New York Times reported over the weekend on concerns of lax safety tied to the production of the aircraft maker's 787 Dreamliner. The report comes in the wake of the grounding of Boeing's 737 Max jets after two deadly crashes.

U.S. Treasuries finished slightly lower in an equally tight-ranged session that included some yield-curve steepening. The 2-yr yield increased one basis point to 2.39%, and the 10-yr yield increased three basis points to 2.59%.

Crude Oil prices surged on Monday, 22 April 2019 amid reports the U.S. will announce the end of waivers for countries to import Iranian oil, as part of a bid by the Trump administration to push Iran's exports to zero.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery surged $1.70, or 2.7%, to settle at $65.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on the contract's expiration day. Prices had ended the holiday-shortened trading week with a gain of 0.2%. June Brent crude, the global benchmark, rallied $2.07, or 2.9%, to $74.04 a barrel. Brent gained 0.6% last week, its fourth consecutive weekly rise.

Bullion prices ended higher at Comex on Monday, 22 April 2019 at Comex. Gold prices pushed up from the more than four-month low reached in recent sessions, in part as oil gains lifted the specter of inflation risk, against which gold can act as a hedge. A decline in the U.S. dollar and some weakness in benchmark stock indexes also weighed on demand for riskier assets, providing support for haven gold.

Gold for June delivery rose $1.60, or 0.1%, to settle at $1,277.60 an ounce. It settled Thursday at $1,276, the lowest finish for a most-active contract since 26 December. May silver added 1.5 cents, or 0.1%, at $14.97 an ounce, after logging a weekly loss of less than 0.1%.

Sentiment is cautious as investors await earnings reports from some of the largest and most consequential U.S. companies later this week.

Looking ahead, investors will receive New Homes Sales for March and the FHFA Housing Price Index for February on Tuesday.

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 23 2019. 09:54 IST