Stocks fell slightly on Monday, after Friday’s activity left the U.S. benchmark index at its highest level in four months.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,271.64, down 3.56 points, or unchanged on a percentage basis. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1,418.13, down 0.03 of a point. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,076.03, down 13.86 points, or 0.1 per cent.
The retreat comes just one trading day after the S&P 500 rose to its highest level since April and came within one point of turning in its best close since 2008.
Stocks were weighed down by yet more confusion from Europe, where one report suggested that the European Central Bank was close to a plan to target bond yields – essentially driving down the borrowing costs of countries whose bond yields had surged to unsustainable levels.
However, the ECB denied the report and Germany said that it does not support such a plan anyway, providing more evidence that Germany and the ECB remain in different camps when it comes to proposing solutions to the ongoing soveriegn debt crisis.
Lowe’s sank 5.8 per cent after the home renovation retailer reported that its quarterly earnings missed expectations. It also cut its earnings forecast.
Apple Inc. rose to a new record high of $665.15 (U.S.), up 2.6 per cent – in the process becoming the most valuable company of all time. Its valuation surpassed Microsoft Corp.’s peak of $620-billion in 1999.
Facebook Inc. rebounded 5 per cent after an analyst at Capstone upgraded the stock to a “buy” recommendation from “hold” and initiated at target price of $26 – arguing that the shares were now attractive on a valuation basis after sliding so sharply since their initial public offering in May.
Key commodities were relatively flat. Crude oil closed at $95.97 a barrel, down 4 cents. Gold rose to $1,623 an ounce, up $3.60. Among Canadian commodity producers, Barrick Gold Corp. rose 1.2 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.7 per cent.