U.S. Markets open in 4 hrs 3 mins

US Market Indexes Close Lower Wednesday

- By Julie Young

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 26,449.54 on Wednesday with a loss of 3.12 points or -0.01%. The S&P 500 closed at 2,900.45 with a loss of 6.61 points or -0.23%. The Nasdaq Composite closed at 7,996.08 with a loss of 4.15 points or -0.05%. The VIX Volatility Index was higher at 12.50 for a gain of 0.32 points or 2.63%.

Wednesday's market movers

U.S. market indexes traded mostly higher on Wednesday morning, but ultimately closed the day lower. Morgan Stanley (MS) was the last of the big banks to report first-quarter earnings, posting them on Wednesday. Morgan Stanley beat earnings per share estimates by 16 cents and revenue estimates by $330 million. The stock closed with a gain of 2.64%. Investors were also optimistic about China's gross domestic product report, which showed growth of 6.4% year over year in the first quarter of 2019 and a record production of steel at 231 million tons in the first quarter.

Midday economic and earnings reports, however, curbed investors' appetite. Namely, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book reported sluggish sales for retailers and auto dealers. The Beige Book's sentiment overall was "slight-to-moderate" growth in the economy. Health care stocks were lower Wednesday with demands for lower drug prices and "Medicare for All" plans effecting valuations. Throughout the day, other top earnings headlines also included PepsiCo (PEP), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Bank of New York Mellon (BK), Alcoa (AA), E*Trade (ETFC), Kinder Morgan (KMI), Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Pier 1 Imports (PIR), Sleep Number (SNBR) and United Rentals (URI).

In other news, Qualcomm (QCOM) and Apple (AAPL) were both higher after resolving a patent dispute. Intel (INTC) gained after reporting it is getting out of the 5G smartphone market. Investors were also watching Pinterest and Zoom, which will debut an initial public offering on Thursday.

Economic reports affecting market trading included the following:

  • The MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 3.5% and the MBA's average 30-year mortgage rate was 4.44%.
  • The Balance of Trade Report for February showed a deficit of -$49.4 billion, improving from -$51.1 billion. February exports increased to $209.7 billion from $207.4 billion. February imports increased to $259.1 billion from $258.5 billion.
  • Wholesale inventories increased 0.2% in February after a 1.2% increase.
  • The Energy Information Administration's weekly oil inventories report showed crude oil stocks down 1.396 million following a gain of 7.029 million.

In the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the following stocks led losses:

  • Merck (MRK) -4.57%
  • IBM (IBM) -4.20%
  • Pfizer (PFE) -2.47%
  • Travelers (TRV) -1.67%
  • Verizon (VZ) -1.60%
  • UnitedHealth (UNH) -1.37%

Small-cap stocks

In small caps, the Russell 2000 closed at 1,568.38 for a loss of 14.40 points or -0.91%. The S&P 600 closed at 964.65 for a loss of 5.47 points or -0.56%. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Growth TSM Index closed at 9,944.89 for a loss of 107.29 points or -1.07%. The Dow Jones Small-Cap Value TSM Index closed at 9,739.15 for a loss of 35.57 points or -0.36%.

Other Notable Indexes

Other notable index closes included the S&P 400 Mid-Cap Index at 1,949.31 for a loss of 14.21 points or -0.72%; the S&P 100 at 1287.40 for a gain of 2.30 points or 0.18%; the Russell 3000 at 1,710.20 for a loss of 4.46 points or -0.26%; the Russell 1000 at 1,607.95 for a loss of 3.40 points or -0.21%; the Wilshire 5000 at 29,943.43 for a loss of 104.22 points or -0.35%; and the Dow Jones U.S. Select Dividend Index at 718.09 for a loss of 0.62 points or -0.09%.

Not a Premium Member of GuruFocus? Sign up for a free 7-day trial here .

This article first appeared on GuruFocus.