The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 21, 2013

Stock indexes flip between gains and losses

From The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Stock indexes fluctuated in early trading Tuesday as investors tried to predict the Fed’s next move.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose five points at 15,340 shortly after 10:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up a point to hit 1,666. The Nasdaq composite slid five points to 3,490, a drop of 0.2 percent.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday releases minutes from its most recent policy meeting and Chairman Ben Bernanke will go before Congress to discuss the outlook for the U.S. economy.

Markets are seeking any hints about whether the U.S. will ease back on its multibillion dollar bond buying program, which has buoyed all major indexes this year.

JPMorgan rose 1 percent in early trading. Shareholders of the country’s biggest bank are deciding at their annual meeting Tuesday whether to split the roles of chairman and CEO. Jamie Dimon currently holds both positions. The bank’s stock gained 65 cents to $52.93.

Home Depot surged 3 percent, the best gain among the 30 stocks in the Dow. The retailer reported an 18 percent increase in income for its first quarter as the housing market continued to recover. Shares rose $2.25 to $78.98.

It’s been a healthy quarter for many of the nation’s biggest companies with home prices rising and the job market appearing to stabilize.

Seven of every 10 in the S&P 500 have trumped Wall Street expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ. Earnings have climbed 5 percent over the year before.

In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched up to 1.99 percent from 1.96 percent late Monday.

In commodities trading, the price of gold fell $22.70 to $1,361.30. Gold has slumped 19 percent this year. Tame inflation, a stronger dollar and a surging stock market have made gold less appealing as an alternative investment.

Among other companies in the news:

— Best Buy dropped 3 percent, after reporting a quarterly loss and sales that fell short of expectations. Its stock lost 83 cents to $25.98.  

— TiVo gained 3 percent, or 34 cents, to $13. The digital video recording company narrowed its quarterly loss with the help of higher sales from more subscribers.