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Nasdaq Dips; Dow, S&P Close Higher

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At some point this morning, the Nasdaq lost some of its mojo and dipped into negative territory today, and never got back above it. The tech-heavy index closed near session lows (as did the S&P 500, which closed in the green) to -0.48%, its second straight down day. The Dow, boosted by 2%+ gains from Chevron (CVX - Free Report) , Walgreens (WBA - Free Report) and Home Depot (HD - Free Report) , was the best-performing major index on the day, +0.70%. The Russell 2000 finished -0.48%.

During the day, economic metrics came in slightly lower than expected across the board: Markit Manufacturing PMI reached 60.5 last month, 10 basis points off estimates, while ISM Manufacturing for April fared worse: 60.7% versus the 65.0% expected and 64.7% in March. Construction Spending, looking for a decent bounce-back in March from a sub-par February, only posted +0.2% — notably lower than the +1.8% expected.

Motor vehicle sales (seasonally adjusted and annualized) not only put up ridiculously high comps from the depressed April 2020 numbers, but many set record high monthly sales. Toyota (TM - Free Report) , Honda (HMC - Free Report) and Hyundai posted +183%, +171% and +124% year-over-year gains, respectively, while automaker-adjacent companies like AutoNation (AN - Free Report) and Carmax (KMX - Free Report) gained 188% and 92%, respectively, on the day.

In all, 18.54 million cars (annualized) were sold in the month of April, making it the second straight month over the 18 million rate. This is not exactly unprecedented, but is a rare positive occurrence for the auto sales market. Chip-shortage issues, on the other hand, have caused Ford (F - Free Report) to cut Q2 auto production in half from previous estimates. These chip shortages are creating a headwind for an otherwise extremely robust market.

Top agriculture firm The Mosaic Companies (MOS - Free Report) outperformed on both top and bottom lines after the closing bell today, posting 57 cents per share on $2.37 billion in sales, versus the 50 cents per share and $2.31 billion expected. However, shares have dropped 5% in late trading in a clear “sell the news” action — the fertilizer and phosphate distributor have gained 48% year to date and 219% from a year ago.

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