Stock Market

Stock Market Closes Lower After Wild Session As Indexes Remain Below This Key Level


If there was any doubt the stock market is seeking direction, Wednesday’s trading provided new evidence.




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Indexes shifted direction several times. They opened higher, reversed lower, pared losses then went on a last-hour swoon. Such is the nature of the market as buyers and sellers wrestle for control.

The Nasdaq composite closed with a loss of 0.9% in a seesaw session that took the index up as much as 1.2% and down as much as 1.4%. The S&P 500 closed 0.8% lower as it also fluctuated drastically.

Both indexes remain below their 200-day moving averages. But the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell 0.8%, found some support at its 200-day line. That moving average is near the 25,000 level, which may serve as a psychological barrier.

Volume was higher, according to preliminary numbers. Losers led advancers by about a 2-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq and by more than 3-2 on the NYSE.

Small caps fared little better, with the Russell 2000 off 0.6% at the closing bell.

Department stores were one of Wednesday’s weakest groups after Macy’s (M) fell sharply despite a strong earnings report. The company easily beat third-quarter estimates and it gave signs of a strong holiday quarter. Macy’s shares slid 7% in big volume, although a base is still technically taking shape.

Semiconductors were a top-performing sector, which gave the Nasdaq some strength. But biotechs fell about 2% and were a drag on the composite. The Philadelphia semiconductor index rose 0.4%.

Apple (AAPL) remained a thorn in the market’s side. Apple, still the largest stock by market cap, fell further below its 200-day line. A gain of about 20% from a buy point at 194.30 is now wiped out, which is a late sell signal. The stock was downgraded again Wednesday.

Leading stocks were little changed, with the Innovator IBD 50 ETF down a fraction. The ETF slightly undercut its prior low at 30.15 before closing with a 0.8% decline.

Financials were broadly lower, and a few insurers were off sharply. Progressive (PGR) plunged 9.5% as it broke below the 50-day line in heavy volume. Travelers Cos. (TRV) was the weakest Dow component, down 3% in busy trading. Exposure to claims from California’s costly wildfires appeared to hurt some insurance stocks.

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