U.S. stocks ended the first day of the trading week in the red after trading in positive territory in the early session. Stocks were subdued just ahead of the earnings season which unofficially begins on Wednesday, the day when the Fed releases its minutes of the recent meeting. The Dow shed 0.10 percent to close at 16,991.91 while the S&P 500 lost 0.16 percent, ending the day at 1,964.82. The Nasdaq also ended 0.47 percent lower at 4,454.80. The strength in the U.S. dollar and a weak European economy has the markets reflecting nervousness ahead of the third-quarter earnings season.
The S&P 500 was boosted by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) following the announcement of a split into two listed companies. The tech giant’s shares were up 4.7 percent to $36.87. Following Samsung’s plans to spend $14.7 billion on a new semiconductor facility, shares of Micron (MU.O) dropped 4 percent to $32.57. Shares of Apple’s partner, GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT.O), fell drastically by 92.8 percent to 80 cents after it filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection. Durata Therapeutics (DRTX.O) was a major mover on the Nasdaq. Following Actavis (ACT.N) intention to buy Durata for $675 million, shares of the company were up 74.6 percent to $24.24.
Gold futures have dropped to the lowest level since December after the dollar soared to its highest level in four years. The precious metal continued to slide with Comex gold futures with December settlement at $1 194.8 per troy ounce. Prices dropped to $1 183.3 an ounce, its lowest since Dec. 31. Gold is on track for a consecutive annual decline since 2000, shedding as much as 28% of its value in 2013. December’s central pivot point for gold on the COMEX is at $1 199.6. If the first resistance level at $1 209.0 is broken it is likely to continue to test $1 225.0 and then $1 234.4 if the second key resistance is broken. If the contract breaches the first key support at $1,183.6 it is likely to drop and test $1 174.2.