Stocks edged higher after zigzagging in quiet trading today on mixed reports about the US economy and corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose only 15 points.
But modest moves in the market’s major indicators belie larger forces at work: Investors aren’t dumping stocks, even in the face of downbeat news.
Today was only one of several quiet days that have punctuated a powerful two-week rally.
With stocks up 11% in that time, analysts say the market’s ability to take a break and hold its gains is a victory for bullish investors.
Stocks are steady in part because many investors aren’t retreating for fear of missing another rally.
Only weeks ago, when a spring rally was still stalled, investors likely would looked to the news out today as reason to sell.
RadioShack reported higher second-quarter earnings that beat forecasts, but mainly from cost-cutting – a theme that has become familiar this earnings season. Health insurer Aetna and manufacturer Honeywell International posted gloomier results.
On the plus side, a government report showed new home sales posted the fastest increase in June in more than eight years as buyers jumped on reduced prices, low interest rates and a federal tax credit for first-time homeowners. That sent stocks of home builders surging.
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow rose 15.27, or 0.2%, to 9,108.51. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.92, or 0.3%, to 982.18, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 1.93, or 0.1%, to 1,967.89.
Nearly two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 1bn shares, essentially flat with Friday.