U.S. stock indexes closed little changed Monday as late buying of financials and blue chips lifted the market off earlier lows. With no fresh economic data released, trading was thin and cautious.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and other banks lured buyers amid reports the Obama administration will announce as early as next Monday which banks will be allowed to return bailout funds.
Commodities producers suffered through retreats in gold and oil futures, although oil, like stocks, firmed in late trading.
On Monday, the 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average finished higher by 1.36 points, or 0.02%, at 8,764.49. The broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index edged lower by 0.95 point, or 0.10%, to 939.14. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index lost 7.02 points, or 0.38%, to finish at 1,842.40.
Treasuries fell; the bond market was bracing for a refunding this week. The dollar index was up.
Major equity indexes have run into technical resistance levels, notes S&P MarketScope.
"The market has run out of good reasons to buy although some traders fear they [will be] missing the boat. However, slow trading suggests no panic at present," says S&P.
There were no significant economic economic reports scheduled for release Monday. It is not certain that Tuesday's April wholesale inventories report will have much influence on the markets.
The Obama administration is expected to announce this week that a higher-than-expected number of large financial institutions will be allowed to repay their government bailout funds. The Washington Post said the size of the repayments may be twice the initial estimate of $25 billion. Goldman Sachs Group (GS) and JPMorgan Chase, along with others, are expected to be allowed to repay TARP funds.
Institutions want to repay the government as soon as they can in order to get out from under some unwanted obligations such as executive compensation restrictions, dividend payments, among others. The government also sees repayments as a positive sign for financial institutions that have raised more capital than needed to exit the bailout program.
Apple (AAPL) shares remained defensive while investors waited to see if CEO Jobs will make the keynote speech at a developers' conference, according to Action Economics.