Stocks finished little-changed Wednesday, as a rally in traditionally defensive sectors helped the U.S. major averages stage their largest rebound of 2019. After falling 600 points in early trading, the Dow finished just 22 points lower on the session. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of less than 0.1%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4% after each benchmark clawed back a 2% morning retreat.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory with Real Estate and Consumer Staples shares pacing the gains. Materials also outperformed amid strength in mining shares. COMEX gold added another 1.8% to close near a six-year high of $1498.30/ounce. Energy stocks lagged, as WTI crude slumped another 3.8% to $51.58/barrel following an unexpected buildup in U.S. stockpiles. In earnings, Disney had its worst session since 2015, falling 4.9% after the media giant missed Wall Street earnings and revenue projections. CVS Health moved in the other direction, adding 5.3% after easily topping analyst profit estimates and raising forward guidance. Match Group jumped 24.2% after the online dating company posted a larger-than-anticipated jump in subscribers.
Wednesday was also a wild day in fixed income, with the yield on benchmark 10-year notes finishing essentially unchanged at 1.71%. The benchmark yield had fallen below 1.60% for the first time since 2016 earlier in the day, but sentiment seemed to turn following a $27 billion auction of the maturity. On the data front, a report showed mortgage applications jumped 5.3% in the most recent week as consumers react to lower interest rates.