At close the Dow Jones Industrial Average registered less than 0.1% change rising 5.3 points to 21012. The biggest movers of the day were Apple up 2.72% to 153.0 and Exxon Mobile rose from 82.02 to 82.89.
Chevron and Home Depot also saw a lift of 0.84% and 0.74% respectively to close at 106.68 and 156.89.
It was a tale of decline and fall of health, financials and consumer staples sector which offset gains in technology and energy.
Apple boosted the Index upon billionaire Warren Buffett’s announcement that he increased his stake in the first quarter.
Amongst the decliners were E l DuPont de Nemours, provider of science-based products and services, falling -1.1% to 80.26.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs also registered a small decline falling -0.8% to 225.03 amidst announcements of the biggest people moves in a decade including naming two new co-heads of its investment banking division.
Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite and barely nudged a 0.1% gain. The S&P closed at 2,399.38 and Nasdaq 6,102.66 up by .03%
Consumer goods giant, Newell Brands Inc, was the top riser on the S&P500 with an 11.94% increase to 51.93 on the back of strong quarterly results.
The other big riser was American telecoms company CenturyLink Inc which closed up at 24.80 a +5.08% gain after activist investor Keith Meister recommended its shares citing its acquisition of Level 3 as a game changer.
Tyson Food, poultry maker, announced a drop in earnings and lost -6.08% to finish at 59.48 LyondellBasell Industries, a multinational chemical company and manufacturer of polyolefin, also saw a drop of -4.02% to finish at 80.78.
‘Fear Index’ reading off kilter?
Meanwhile the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) also known as the Wall Street Fear Index made a dramatic slide falling to a low of 9.77 today, which was down 7.6% on the day and made it the lowest reading since 27 December 1993.
The Index is based on the options prices on the S&P 500 and measures expected volatility a month ahead. The reading suggests investors were comfortable with the current market.
The stability shows that there’s not much expected volatility as positive Q1 earnings are largely falling in line with expectations.
Commentators did not take heart and suggested the Index may be unreliable and that the low reading could be the calm before a storm even if the calm is for a long period.
A number of companies will be rolling out their results this week and the expected good news adds to a positive market sentiment.
FactSet indicates first quarter earnings look set to increase 13.5% from the same period last year a third consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.
The growth is across a number of sectors with energy, financials and technology set to report growth.
Walt Disney, whose troubles including ESPN continue to dog the media and entertainment giant will announce earnings on 9 May. However, analysts are bullish and forecast a return to growth by summer for ESPN.
The yield on US government bond prices weakened. The 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.376% from Friday’s 2.352%.
Crude Oil increased by 0.61% to $46.50. Gold opened at 1,226.60 and closed 0.02% up to 1,227.30.