Stocks Rise as Banks Bounce Back; Apple Falls
Stocks advanced Wednesday, with banks rebounding after a sharp selloff in the previous session, as details of a bailout plan for Greece helped assuage the market's concerns.
But traders will be waiting to see what the Fed says, with a statement due out at 2:15pm ET today following a two-day policy meeting.
The Dow was up a few points, after sliding more than 200 points Tuesday after both Greece and Portugal had their debt ratings downgraded.
The CBOE volatility index also started to come back to earth, dropping back below 22, after surging more than 30 percent on Tuesday in its biggest one-day jump since October 2008.
While many traders were ensconced in the Senate subcommittee hearing on Goldman Sachs, Standard & Poor's , pushing indexes to their biggest one-day losses since Feb. 4.
The CBOE volatility index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market had its biggest one-day spike in 18 months.
In this morning's economic news, mortgage applications fell last week as a drop in home refinancing volume outweighed the highest demand for home purchase loans in six months, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
No change in rates is expected from the Fed today but Wall Street will be watching for any indications about when the "extended period" language regarding interest rates might change.
Goldman Sachs shares continued to rise as investors shruggled off Tuesday's marathon Senate hearing grilling executives. While the market was a sea of red yesterday, Goldman was one of the only stocks that rose.
Banks were some of the early leaders, with Bank of America and JPMorgan and the front of the Dow pack.
There was weakness in pharmaceuticals and techs, with Dell down more than 1 percent.
Apple and Amazon also lost more than 1 percent and Netflix dropped more than 2 percent.
On the earnings front, Dow Chemical posted better-than-expected earnings as pricing, volume and sales spiked.
And Comcast reported a 12 percent increasein profitas more consumers signed up for digital cable TV and high-speed Internet services. The nation's largest cable TV provider also said advertising on its cable channels rebounded in the quarter, indicating that an economic upturn is taking hold.
But Sprint posted a quarterly loss that was in line with expectations as customer losses slowed from the same period a year ago.
After the closing bell, Visa , Baidu , and Allstate will be among those reporting earnings results.
Another Treasury auction is on tap today as well, with the government selling $42 billion in 5-year notes. The results, as usual, will be available shortly after 1 pm.
European shares were loweracross the board with banks leading the declines on the back of concerns over Greek debt contagion. Asian shares ended lower, also on the debt concerns.
Several reassuring comments emerged from Europe including European Central Bank Governing Council member Axel Weber, who said the Greek crisis presents no threat to the euro. Fellow Council member Ewald Nowotny said fears that Greece's debt problems could spread to other euro zone countries are "unfounded."
In other news: Republicans are floating their first financial regulation reform counterproposal, after successfully blocking a bid to start debate on the existing Senate bill for the second straight day.
Still to Come:
WEDNESDAY: GE and BofA shareholder meetings; Weekly crude inventories; Fed announcement (2:15 PM ET); Earnings from Visa, Allstate, Baidu after the bell
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims; Earnings from ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, P&G, Aetna, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burger King, Kellogg, Motorola, Time Warner Cable, Viacom
FRIDAY: Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting; AT&T shareholder meetings; GDP; consumer sentiment; Earnings from Chevron