Stocks were little changed Wednesday, as investors digested corporate earnings results and kept tabs on the developing coronavirus outbreak in China. Risk sentiment seemed to improve this morning after Beijing announced plans for a nationwide screening process. The Dow jumped more than 120 points, but pared the gains to end the session down 9 points. The S&P 500 finished just above the flat line, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.1%, notching fresh all-time intraday highs earlier in the session.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors ended in positive territory. Technology shares paced the gains with IBM climbing 3.4% after delivering a surprise gain in revenue. The group also received a tailwind after France agreed to postpone a digital tax through 2020 in exchange of suspensions of U.S. duties on French goods. In other earnings, Netflix fell 3.9% despite reporting stronger-than-expected global subscriber growth. United Airlines slipped 2.9% after a slight top and bottom line beat. Elsewhere, Tesla climbed 4.1%, closing above $100 billion in market cap for the first time. The Energy group lagged, with WTI crude sliding 2.9% to $56.70/barrel after the International Energy Agency projected a surplus of market supply.
Treasuries modestly strengthen, with the yield on the 10-year note down one basis point to 1.76%. On the data front, existing home sales advanced 3.6% in December, the fastest rate in nearly two years. Another report from the FHFA showed U.S. house prices rose 0.2% in November. Separately, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index showed a slump in economic activity last month.