The holiday lull continued to cast its influence over Wall Street this week, as investors stayed on the sidelines as the trading year wound to a close.
The NASDAQ index closed down 10.78 at 2,218.16. The S&P 500 slipped by 3.75 to end the day at 1,254, pretty much the story with all major indices. The Dow Jones Industrial average slipped by 11.44 to end the second-to-last trading day of 2005 at 10,784.
Tuesday’s news was still in the air. That’s when data about an inversion of yields on the 10-year and 2-year Treasury notes helped stocks tumble that day.
For the first time in five years, yields for the 10-year and two-year Treasury notes essentially swapped places, suggesting that investors see no great shakes in near-term economic indicators compared to the long view.
Market watchers monitor for inverted yield events such as this as a signal of the economy’s staying power on growth.
Volume remained thin, as it has all week with many traders off the sidelines until after the New Year holiday.
The tech sector did get some OK news today. Online shoppers forked over $30.1 billion in the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to the weekly eSpending report produced by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive. That’s a 30 percent jump over last year’s spending levels.
Still, with investors not getting much in the way of new economic data this week, and corporate news middling if at all, tech stocks remained in a kind of holding pattern.
Most major bellwethers slipped a bit along with the NASDAQ. Intel fell by 37 cents to close at $25.07 on the day. IBM shed 64 cents to close at $84.40. Microsoft shed 12 cents on the day to close at $26.27 during regular trading hours, though it was up slightly in after hours trading.