Easing fears about Greece exiting the euro guided the markets to a rare win yesterday. This was only the fifth time that the Dow ended in the green this month, while the benchmarks continued to hover significantly lower for the month. On the economic front, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed declining trend.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (:DJI) enjoyed triple-digit gains, as it jumped 125.86 points or 1.0% to close at 12,580.69. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) surged 1.1% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,332.42. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index gained a strong 1.2% to move up to 2,870.99. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (:VIX) dropped 3.4% to settle at 21.03. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 3.45 billion shares. The advancers far outnumbered the declining stocks on the NYSE; as for 77% of the stocks that moved up, only 21% traded lower. The remaining 2% stocks were left unchanged.
This month, Greek concerns have been a constant drag on the markets. It was the political uncertainties that led to the increasing fears about Greece exiting euro. Following the election in Greece, the nation failed to form a government as no party won with clear majority. Left with no government, the nation faced the possibility of not negotiating and thus not getting its next tranche of bailout from the international lenders. Eventually, Greece’s chances of exiting the euro increased. Thus, in combination with other worrying factors, the benchmarks received a heavy battering and except for last week, the benchmarks registered weekly losses in all weeks. For the month of May, The Dow is down 4.8% and the S&P 500 is running through its worst monthly performance since September as it is trading almost 5% lower.
However, with easing fears about Greece making an exit from euro, the investors’ sentiment turned positive and was well reflected in the markets’ strong upward rally. The nation had decided to go back to polling once again on June 17. Yesterday, believes that a pro-bailout party would emerge winner in the key election resulted in the uptrend. The nation is in dire need of bailout and the formation of the pro-bailout party can somewhat fix the nation’s debt woes. Also, the nation would not have to exit the euro once the pro-bailout party successfully strikes deal with the international lenders.
Separately, the data through March 2012 of S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices was announced yesterday. According to the data: “The national composite fell by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2012 and was down 1.9% versus the first quarter of 2011. The 10- and 20-City Composites posted respective annual returns of -2.8% and -2.6% in March 2012. Month-over-month, their changes were minimal; average home prices in the 10-City Composite fell by 0.1% compared to February and the 20-City remained basically unchanged in March over February. However, with these latest data, all three composites still posted their lowest levels since the housing crisis began in mid-2006”.
The homebuilding sector nonetheless moved higher and the PHLX Housing Sector (:HGX) was up 2.5%. Among the stocks, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI), KB Home (NYSE:KBH), Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), Meritage Homes Corporation (NYSE:MTH), PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE:PHM) and Toll Brothers Inc (NYSE:TOL) jumped 2.5%, 0.8%, 2.0%, 4.0%, 2.0%, and 1.7%, respectively.
On the other hand, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), one of the mostly-awaited IPOs of this year that debuted on Street on May 18, plunged 9.6% yesterday to settle at $28.84. Thus, with yesterday’s decline, the social networking site has lost $25 billion of its market value since its debut. Yesterday it was the second-most actively stock in the markets and it also had hit a new low of $28.65. Right from the first day, Facebook has been struggling to gain a sizeable win. On the first day of its trading, it rose almost 10% but ended almost all of it by the closing bell to end a mere 0.6% higher. On the second day of trading, it suffered more disappointment as it crashed by 11% to close at $34.03 a share.
While Nasdaq-component Facebook continue to struggle, other Nasdaq components like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ:ORCL) gained 1.8%, 0.5%, 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively.
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