The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell. The Senate passed a bill to avert a government shutdown, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted “very positive” progress on an infrastructure bill. Microsoft (MSFT) reversed while Intel (INTC) inched higher. CarMax (KMX) flashed multiple sell signals after an earnings miss.
The market was struggling for direction, which made breakouts difficult. But that didn’t stop Western Alliance Bancorp (WAL) from testing a new buy point. Meanwhile, Northern Oil & Gas (NOG) was showing impressive relative strength.
Pelosi Touts ‘Positive’ Talks; Senate Passes Shutdown Bill
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters the House was “proceeding in a very positive way” toward bringing the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill forward for a vote Thursday.
There are fears that progressive Democrats could derail the bill as they battle with party moderates over the controversial $3.5 trillion so-called human infrastructure bill. The package contains a sweep of health care, education and climate measures.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer achieved a small victory after passing a bill to fund the government through Dec. 3. It was approved by 65 votes to 35.
“I’m confident the House will approve this measure later this afternoon and send it to the president’s desk before funding runs out,” Schumer said earlier on Thursday.
A mix of economic data was also released Thursday. The Labor Department reported first-time applications for unemployment assistance increased to 362,000 in the week ended Sept. 25. Analysts had expected a decline to 335,000.
The Commerce Department revised upward its final estimate for second-quarter gross domestic product growth, to a 6.7% increase. That was up from its initial 6.6% estimate, and in line with economist expectations as the economy continues to rebound from its pandemic slump. Personal consumption and expenditures posted a 12% year-over-year gain, revised upward from an initial estimate of 11.9% growth.
Nasdaq Up As Stock Market Struggles
The stock market looks set to end September on a sour note, with all major indexes slipping for the month.
The Nasdaq saw early gains melt away as bears battled the bulls. At around 2:44 p.m. ET, the composite index was trading up 0.4%.
Dollar Tree (DLTR) had been the biggest laggard, falling around 6%. It comes after Wednesday’s spike on plans to add price points above $1 across Dollar Tree Plus stores. It will also test price points above $1 in some legacy stores.
U.S. Stock Market Today Overview
Last Update: 2:44 PM ET 9/30/2021
The S&P sectors were mostly red, with communication services making the best gain. Industrials and consumer staples were the worst laggards.
Small caps were also struggling, with the Russell 2000 dropping 0.1%.
Growth stocks rallied out of the red, with the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) up 0.5%.
Microsoft Stock Reverses As Dow Jones Dips
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was fighting back after being pummeled, but was still down around 0.8%. Almost all components were in the red.
Microsoft stock had been making up some ground, but got sucked lower amid the broader pressure. It was virtually flat.
The software stock had formed a new flat base but is now well shy of the ideal buy point of 305.94.
Meanwhile, Intel was managing to inch higher, rising 0.3%, though it was off highs. But it was Merck (MRK) that managed to squeeze out the best gain on the Dow Jones today, though it was up just under 1%.
CarMax Stock Flashes Sell Signals
CarMax stock was hammered after earnings of $1.72 per share badly missed analyst estimates. Revenue managed to beat views.
A key weakness was comparable pre-owned car sales. The firm posted a rise of 6.2%, which was lower than Wall Street expectations.
CarMax stock was down almost 11%, and was selling off in heavy volume.
KMX stock had been in the buy zone of a cup base, but it gapped down on its earnings miss.
The stock sank below its 50-day moving average, falling more than 7% below its ideal entry point.
Bank Stock Breakout Attempt Falters
Western Alliance Bancorp tried to stage a breakout from a consolidation pattern, according to MarketSmith analysis.
It is currently trading below its ideal buy point of 109.94, but could post its eighth up session in a row.
The regional bank stock offers a formidable mix of earnings and price performance.
When the stock market is struggling, it is a good idea to seek out stocks showing strength for your watchlist.
NOG Leads The Stock Market Today
Northern Oil & Gas saw its relative strength line hit a new high, which makes it a good candidate.
It is near a cup-base entry of 21.74 and in the top 3% of stocks in terms of market performance over the past 12 months. Energy stocks have been hot lately.
Please follow Michael Larkin on Twitter at @IBD_MLarkin for more on growth stocks and analysis.
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