US stocks finish mainly flat, with the Dow down a bit and the S&P up a bit, as the day’s generally cheery economic data wasn’t enough to overcome a volley from the White House on healthcare reform. But they did slide into the close, losing whatever modest strength they’d been carrying with them for most of the session.
DJIA slips 9 to 10397, scuttling a three-day winning streak after rising as much as 63 during the day. The index is still slightly lower on the year. S&P 500 adds less than one to 1119, Nasdaq Comp loses less than one to 2281. Healthcare slides after White House renews press for reform.
Meanwhile, the dollar was down, Treasurys were down and crude crossed back over $80/barrel. That dollar/stocks trade that’s been so tightly wound lately — when one rises, the other falls and vice versa — seems to be weakening, for whatever reason.
Financials finish a bit higher, but ceded much of their gains, after the White House released a summary of its proposals under the Volcker Rule, with one big surprise being that it might target even companies that don’t have banking operations.
ADP pegs February jobs losses at 20,000, and ISM posts best reading on services sector in years. But the numbers certainly don’t point to any strong economic growth, and Fed’s beige book is once again cautiously optimistic.
Of course, we’re also getting that much closer to Friday’s big jobs report from the BLS, so it appears few people want to get in front of that bus.