The Nasdaq declined slightly on weakness in tech shares, though its
loss was limited by a rally in Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> shares a day
after the company's results.
Despite that, trading volume was below average. Many investors have
already locked in their gains for the year ahead of the coming
holidays. About 5.53 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms,
according to BATS exchange data.
"There's a lot of transparency in the market, but most of the noise
has been made," said Mark Martiak, senior wealth strategist at
Premier Wealth/First Allied Securities in New York. "We should
expect to continue seeing light volume and not much selling."
Wednesday's rally came after the Federal Reserve announced a plan to
trim its monthly bond purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion,
beginning in January. The statement was accompanied by a dovish
indication of rock-bottom interest rates for the foreseeable future,
a combination that gave the Dow and the S&P 500 their largest daily
gains in two months.
Oracle's stock jumped 5.8 percent to $36.60 a day after the No. 2
software maker reported earnings that beat expectations and gave a
bullish revenue outlook. The stock was the S&P 500's biggest
Red Hat Inc <RHT.N> shares jumped 8.2 percent to $53 in
extended-hours trading following the company's third-quarter
results, which were released after the bell. The stock had ended the
regular session at $49, up 0.2 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 11.11 points, or 0.07
percent, to finish at 16,179.08, a record closing high. The Standard
& Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dipped 1.05 points, or 0.06 percent, to
end at 1,809.60. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> shed 11.93
points, or 0.29 percent, to close at 4,058.14.
The Dow reached an all-time intraday high of 16,194.72 during the
session, while the S&P 500 moved within 3 points of setting a new
high. Both indexes are up more than 20 percent this year, with the
rally largely fueled by the Fed's accommodative monetary policies.
Facebook <FB.O> shares fell 0.9 percent to $55.05 after the social
network company announced the offering of 70 million shares,
including more than 41 million shares from Chief Executive Officer
Mark Zuckerberg, worth about $2.3 billion. Zuckerberg's sale, partly
to pay a tax bill, will reduce his voting power to 56.1 percent from
[to top of second column]
Among other tech names, Adobe Systems <ADBE.O> shares fell 1.5
percent to $58.13. Texas Instruments <TXN.O> lost 1.5 percent to end
at $42.46, weighing on the Nasdaq.
Target Corp <TGT.N> said hackers might have stolen data from some 40
million credit and debit cards of shoppers who visited its stores
during the first three weeks of the holiday season in the
second-largest such breach reported by a U.S. retailer. The stock
slid 2.2 percent to $62.15.
In the deals arena, Dish <DISH.O> is considering a bid for T-Mobile
US <TMUS.N> next year, according to people close to the matter, in
what would be the satellite TV provider's second attempt at
acquiring a major wireless operator. Dish rose 1 percent to $55.83,
while T-Mobile gained 8.7 percent to $29.61.
Darden Restaurants <DRI.N> said it would sell or spin off its Red
Lobster business, buckling under pressure from activist investor
Barington Capital Group after reporting another quarter of sliding
profits. Darden's stock dropped 3.6 percent to
In economic news, the number of Americans filing new claims for
unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest in nearly nine
months, while home resales fell to the lowest in nearly a year. On
the upside, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's index of factory
activity rose slightly in December.
About 56 percent of the shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange
closed lower, while about 60 percent of the issues traded on the
Nasdaq ended down.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)
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