Though falling short of offsetting Monday's decline, stocks managed a slight gain on a day marked by mixed domestic news and some confusing reporting on overseas commentary. Markets started out the day on a high note, only to fall into negative territory on confusing media reports involving Angela Merkel. The German chancellor has been a vocal critic of the Eurobond solution to Europe's debt crisis, but reports that she "will not have shared liability for debt as long as she lives" came as a shock to investors. However, news quickly surfaced that it was not a direct quote, which calmed markets enough to head higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) finished the day up 32 points, or 0.26%.
Domestic news was mixed on the day, with encouraging data on home prices conflicting with a discouraging report on consumer confidence from The Conference Board. Specifically, the Case-Shiller home prices index showed annual declines of only 1.9% in April, versus expectations for a 2.3% dip. The report supports the view that prices have found a level of support, with the 0.7% sequential improvement in prices bringing the streak to three months in a row.
Turning to individual stocks, let's look at the three stocks leading the Dow higher today.
Gain / Loss
% Gain / Loss
Chevron (NYS: CVX)
General Electric (NYS: GE)
ExxonMobil (NYS: XOM)
The energy sector was a notable leader in today's trading, with the S&P 500's (INDEX: ^GSPC) energy sector rising 1.1% versus a 0.5% gain for the broader index. Turning to the Dow, gains in energy titans Chevron and ExxonMobil accounted for around half the total point gain for the index. Meanwhile, gains in General Electric shares added to the stock's outperformance, with its year-to-date gain of 10.6% outpacing the blue-chip index by nearly 8%.
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Brenton Flynn doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Chevron. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.
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