Stocks finish lower in a dull, light-volume session. Dow Industrials stay cooped up in a tight range for most of the day, and then falter in the final minutes in action that looked more like buyer fatigue rather than any fresh offensive by sellers.
Consumer discretionary stocks stand out for their weakness following a report showing consumer spending increased but mainly due to higher prices, and real disposable income fell in Feb vs Jan. Oil retreats, which weighs on DJIA component Chevron; IBM, Home Depot also among the average’s leading dollar decliners. All three major indexes end at session lows. DJIA falls 22.71 to 12197.88, and Nasdaq slips 12.38 to 2730.68. S&P 500 ends 3.61 lower at 1310.19.
Trading volume again was weak, which isn’t a great sign for bulls. Via Newswires’ Tomi Kilgore, Miller Tabak technical analyst Phil Roth noted this morning that volume during the recent rally has fallen “from moderately low levels to very low levels…suggesting the rally was mainly a function of traders reversing bearish positions, with little evidence of investment buying by traditional institutions or by the public.” Without increased upside volume, Roth said “the short-term rally is likely to become a top-broadening affair.”
Tomi also noted that while the DJIA today failed to break resistance in 12250-12280 range, “bulls can take some comfort knowing the Dow Jones Transportation Average is still up, and firmly above a similar resistance area.”
More from Tomi:
DJIA closes down 22 at 12198. The intraday high of 12273 was within the 12250-12280 resistance range where there were several intraday highs during the early-March consolidation range. Failing at that resistance preceded the DJIA’s 600-point drop in five sessions to a fresh 2011 low on March 16. But DJTA gains 22 to 5229, off a high of 5254, above its early-March resistance range at 5165-5195.