by Sam Collins | July 26, 2011 6:00 am
Despite the hoopla surrounding the raising of the debt limit, investors ignored the goings-on in Washington, D.C., and focused instead on corporate earnings and news. This is encouraging since analysts are saying that earnings for the remainder of 2011 should continue to improve. But yesterday’s focus on earnings and news produced a mixed result that lacked both direction and leadership. For example, the technology sector, led by Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), up 38 cents, showed gains and could have led, but late in the day the group sagged.
Despite a new high for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and a gain for Mr. Softie, tech stocks lost ground with Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) falling $1.24 to $26.67. And Netflix (NASDA:NFLX) gained $4.95 during regular hours but lost it in after-hours trading following the company’s estimate of lower sales and earnings that will result from its new pricing program.
And TD Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) rose on a report by The Wall Street Journal that it would acquire rival E-Trade (NASDAQ:ETFC), but stood alone, offering little help to the financial sector.
Futures seem to be the sole consistent winner yesterday, led by precious metals. The chart of the PowerShares DB Commodity Index Fund (NYSE:DBC) shows a broad breakout from a huge triangle that began early this year. With the U.S. dollar down again yesterday, and threatening to break to new lows, commodities are one of the few areas that provide consistently positive returns. But even there, investors should exercise caution focusing mainly on precious metals, copper and energy futures.
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