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Stock Market News for April 29, 2013

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Benchmarks finished mixed following lukewarm corporate results and discouraging economic data. Meanwhile, members of the Federal Reserve will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to decide whether or not the bond-buying program should be continued at its prevailing pace, in light of weaker-than-expected growth. Among the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, materials stocks were the biggest losers while the utilities sector was the only gainer.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.1% to close the day at 14,712.55. The S&P 500 lost 0.2% to finish Friday’s trading session at 1,582.24. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 0.3% to end at 3,279.26. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) lost 0.1% to settle at 13.61. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 5.7 billion shares, well below 2012’s average of 6.48 billion shares. Declining stocks outnumbered the advancers. For the 39% that advanced, 58% declined.

Last week, the Dow Jones, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq added 1.1%, 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively. On Friday, the major indices slipped into the red after the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for first quarter 2013 at 2.5%, below the consensus estimate of 3.0%. This quarter, unlike the previous quarter, has witnessed a mixed bunch of economic reports which ultimately resulted in weaker-than-expected GDP. Lower employment numbers and retail sales as well as weak manufacturing growth are all reflective of lower GDP.

Apart from GDP, a series of important reports were also released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, such as, exports, imports and disposable personal income to name a few. Real exports of goods and services increased 2.9% in comparison to a decrease of 2.8% in the previous quarter. Real import of goods and services increased 5.4%, up from a decrease of 4.4% in the previous quarter. Personal disposable income decreased 3.2% in the first quarter versus an increase of 7.9% in the fourth quarter. This data indicates a sharp decrease in personal income accompanied by an increase in the government social insurance.

On the earnings front, shares of homebuilder major, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI) surged 8.7% after its earnings beat the Street’s estimates. The company reported earnings per share of 13 cents a share in comparison with previous year’s earnings of 9 cents a share and Street’s estimates of 4 cents a share.

Shares of energy major, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) increased 1.3% after its earnings beat estimates. The company reported revenue at $56.82 billion, lower than the year-ago revenue figure of $60.71 billion and well below the Street’s estimate of $67.73 billion. However, the company reported earnings at $3.18 a share, well above estimates of $3.05 a share. Revenues of the company were hit by volatile crude prices and refinery problems in California.

Of the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, utilities stocks were the only gainer. The Utilities SPDR (XLU) increased 0.1%. Stocks such as Dominion Resources, Inc. (NYSE:D), TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE), Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) gained 0.4%, 0.4%, 0.3%, 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively.

Of the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, materials stocks were the biggest losers. The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) lost 1.4%. Stocks such as Monsanto Company (NYSE:MON), the Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW), E I Du Pont De Nemours And Co (NYSE:DD), FMC Corp (NYSE:FMC) and Praxair, Inc. (NYSE:PX) lost 1.2%, 1.6%, 0.7%, 1.3% and 0.1%, respectively.

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