The loss was mild, only 0.2 percent on the S&P 500, but stocks were once again on the defensive Wednesday awaiting Thursday's jobless claims and chain-store data as well as the roll out of second-quarter earnings. Aluminum giant Alcoa, as always, kicks off the season, posting better-than-expected results after the close but results that still show deep declines.
Economic news in the session was scarce though MBA's weekly mortgage applications data showed definite improvement, good news but one week is only one week. It was bad news that hit the oil sector as weekly fuel inventories shot up. Oil fell more than $2 to end just above $60. The tide of pessimism is hurting gold where jewelry makes up three quarters of the demand. Gold tested $900 to end at just under $910. Money moved out of other commodities as well.
Pessimism and the demand for safety is good business for Treasuries and today's 10-year note auction was the best ever. The 10-year yield fell 16 basis points on the day to end at 3.29 percent.