Although higher, stock indexes technically unsure

S&P 500 (Figure 2)

At the same time as the index futures were testing upper channel resistance, the 8:30 a.m. ET economic data came out. The U.S. Labor Department reported that imported goods increased 2.2% in April, which was greater-than-anticipated. Exports rose 1.1%. Excluding fuel, imports rose 0.6%, while exports excluding agriculture rose 1%.

The index futures moved lower following this initial report, but the move was more technical than news-driven and the indices found support heading into the opening bell. The market pulled higher following the open, regaining the losses off premarket highs and then some by the time the 10:00 data hit. According to the Commerce Department, wholesale inventories rose 1.1% in March, slightly beating expectations.

Mid-day action in the market was slow and hesitant. The indices were testing Friday's highs, which served as resistance, but weakness on the 5 minute time frame into 11:30 ET failed to continue on an Avalanche attempt on the same time frame into 13:00 ET. A longer trading range followed and a second intraday rally began between 13:50 and 14:30 ET which lasted until 15:15 ET before some late-day profit-taking hit prior to the close.

Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) ended the day with a gain of 75.68 points, or 0.6%, and closed at 12,760.36 on Tuesday. The top gainers in the Dow were Disney (DIS) (+1.88%), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) (+1.34%), Pfizer (PFE) (+1.26%), and Intel (INTC) (+1.19%). Only four of the Dow's thirty index components posted a loss. Microsoft (MSFT) was the weakest performer in the Dow after it announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion. It managed to pull off opening lows, however, and closer lower by only 0.62%. The remaining losers were 3M (MMM) (-0.29%), Alcoa (AA) (-0.06%), and American Express (AXP) (-0.04%).

The S&P 500 ($SPX) rose 10.87 points, or 0.81%, and closed at 1,357.16. Dean Foods (DF) (+11.48%) topped the gainers' list on Tuesday following stronger-than-expected earnings and a raised outlook. Other top performers included Urban Outfitters (URBN) (+4.68%), Whole Foods Market (WFM) (+3.99%), and MetroPCS (PCS) (+3.76%). Boston Scientific (BSX) was the weakest percentage performer in the S&P 500, falling 8.95% after its President and Chief Executive announced plans to retire at the end of the year. Other top decliners included Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) (-2.75%), Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) (-2.05%), and H&R Block (HRB) (-1.82%).

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