NASDAQ up as Apple rises

Stocks were mixed on Wall Street today, with the Dow slipping despite positive economic data, while the technology sector helped the NASDAQ to advance.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 dropped back today, retreating from record highs that were struck in the wake of the Fed’s surprise decision to keep going with its monthly bond-purchases of $85 billion.

Because some kind of taper had been so widely-expected, we can assume that there were a lot of portfolios out there arranged to suit a September taper. There is talk today that perhaps the Fed is a little too concerned about the economy, that perhaps they’ve recognised some heretofore unseen weakness. My view is that this is people talking their own book.

The Fed has long been clear that they wanted to be sure that improvement was sustainable and the fact remains that we had seen lower retail sales, lower consumer sentiment and anaemic inflation in recent weeks. So by the logical yardstick of the actual data, the decision wasn’t so surprising. Going by less logical measures, such as the September FOMC meeting was one with a press conference attached, led a lot of investors to become overly presumptive of the FOMC’s actions.

Tomorrow we will hear from a handful of Fed officials, including James Bullard, serial-dissenter Esther George and Narayana Kocherlakota.

Today’s economic data has been strong. The Philly Fed survey points to a burgeoning manufacturing sector in the US Mid-Atlantic and it will be interesting to see if this is confirmed nationwide by the flash PMI next Monday. Existing home sales rose again in August, despite rising mortgage rates and the labour market continues to tick along the path of recovery.

Today was a good day for technology stocks: Tesla Motors hit a new all-time high after being upgraded by Deutsche Bank. Shares in the electric vehicle manufacturer rose over 6%. Apple gained 1.9% the day after its new mobile operating system became available for iPhone and iPad users. Its new iPhones hit stores tomorrow.

This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.