After Market: Low Yields Lure Money Out of Stocks into Bonds

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The stock market rally paused on Wednesday, as investors poured money into government bonds instead. The yield, or interest rate, on the 10-year Treasury dropped to 2.44 percent -- the lowest it's been since last October. The yield moves in the opposite direction of bond prices.

As for stocks, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 42 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) lost 12 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) slipped 2 points from Tuesday's record high.

Most of the big Internet and social media stocks held in a narrow range, but Twitter (TWTR) was a standout gainer. It jumped 10½ percent after a Nomura Securities analyst says it's hit bottom. Yesterday it dropped to its lowest level since going public last year.

And the Chinese online retailer JD.com (JD) jumped 8 percent. It's now gained about 24 percent since going public less than a week ago.

While most of the major averages moved sideways, the Dow Transports soared to another record high, led by airline stocks. United Continental (UAL) rose more than 3 percent, Delta (DAL) and Southwest (LUV) both gained 2 percent.

Two big medical device makers posted healthy gains. St. Jude Medical (STJ) gained 2½ percent after the FDA approved its new implant to monitor patients with heart problems. And Stryker (SYK) gained 3 percent following a Financial Times report that it plans to make a bid for the orthopedics firm Smith & Nephew (SNN).

Vivus (VVUS), a biotech firm, gained nearly 6 percent as an investment group bought a big stake and plans to bid for the whole company. Even after that gain, Vivus has lost about half its value over the past six months.

Earnings season is generally over, but some results continue to trickle in. A pair of shoe retailers found very different fits. Brown Shoe (BWS) gained 11 percent as it topped expectations and raised its outlook for the year.

But discounter DSW (DSW) tumbled 27 percent. Its results fell short of expectations and the company issued a weak forecast.

And the apparel retailer Wet Seal (WTSL) fell 13 percent after swinging to a quarterly loss on a drop in sales.

What to Watch Thursday:
  • The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims and the Commerce Department releases first-quarter gross domestic product, both at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates and the National Association of Realtors releases its pending home sales index for April.
These major companies are scheduled to release quarterly financial statements:
  • Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF)
  • Costco (COST)
  • Express (EXPR)
  • Guess (GES)
  • Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF)
  • Pacific Sunwear of California (PSUN)
  • Tech Data (TECD)
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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