Wall street Recap: S&P and Nasdaq post meek gains amid reports from Ford; Dow down 12 points

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq benefitted from reports on positive economic growth and strong auto sales for the month of December. Ford (NYSE: F), the only automaker to not receive a bailout from the government, reported improved December sales up 34% for this month when compared to a year ago.  Though annuals sales were still down 15%, Ford has made significant gains in the last few months. The remaining two automakers General Motors and Chrysler posted sales drops of 6% and 4% respectively.

A report released by the Federal Government said that factories throughout the US are starting to churn once more. Factory orders increased 1.1% in November, doing better than what some expected.  Meanwhile homebuyers did not rush out in groves as the previous months to buy homes, as a report posted a 16% drop in sales contracts according to the National Association of Realters.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 12 points, or 0.1% closing at 10,572.02. The S&P 500 index added 3 points, or 0.3% to close at 1,136.52 and the Nasdaq composite closed at 2,308.71. The dollar gained versus the euro and fell against the yen. Gold rose 40 cents to finish off at 1,118.70 an ounce along with Oil which also rose 26 cents to 81.77 a barrel. Oil has risen for the 9th straight day.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4%, the German DAX lost 0.3% and in Japan the Nikkei jumped to a 15 month high to close at 10,654.79. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers by four to three with 1.19 billion shares changing hands.

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