‘Schizophrenic’ markets shrug off Greek deal
Monday, March 12, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks struggled for direction Monday, unsure of what to make of news about Greece’s debt workout and eclectic announcements from a few well-known U.S. companies, such as mattress maker Sealy and luxury retailer Michael Kors.
The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 ended the day higher, but the Nasdaq fell. Both indexes wavered between small gains and losses for big chunks of the day.
The Dow was the most stable, staying above Friday’s close for all but a few minutes. The Dow closed up 37.69 points at 12,959.71. That marked four straight days of gains, only the second time that has happened so far this year.
The Dow has now erased a nerve-wracking 204-point loss it suffered last Tuesday, when investors sent stocks lower over concerns about Greece. The Dow’s trading range of 56.38 points was its narrowest in more than 11 months.
The S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at day’s end, up 0.22 points to 1,371.09. The Nasdaq fell 4.68 points to 2,983.66.
“The market is going to continue to feel very schizophrenic,” said Carol Pepper, CEO and founder of Pepper International, a money management firm in New York. “Some days it’s depressed, some days it’s excited, some days it’s terrified.”
The 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 were evenly split between gainers and losers. Utilities, which tend to attract nervous investors because of their relative stability and generous dividends, rose the most. Markets in Europe were also divided.
Germany did better than others, rising 0.3 percent. Greece fell 2.5 percent.
The news out of Europe seemed only to make predictions on where the market is heading more foggy. Greece persuaded private investors to agree to big losses on their bond holdings, which should help the country stave off default later this month. But the country is still in a severe recession.