The stock market closed mostly higher Monday, but the Nasdaq composite’s gains came with some curious soft spots.
The Nasdaq climbed 0.4% and closed back above its 50-day moving average. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%. Selling in the final minutes erased a small gain for the Dow Jones industrial average, which closed a fraction lower. Small caps were back to their lagging ways, with the Russell 2000 off 0.3% at the closing bell.
Even though the Nasdaq led, the composite suffered from lower volume and weaker breadth. Volume fell on the Nasdaq and rose on the NYSE, the early numbers showed. Losers led by a 7-5 ratio on the Nasdaq, while winners topped losers by 11-to-10 on the NYSE.
Part of the imbalance can be attributed to the sector performance. Energy and metals led the market and helped the S&P and NYSE broaden gains. Meanwhile biotechs, a Nasdaq-rich industry group, were down 1.4%.
Priceline (PCLN), a large Nasdaq component, edged past the 1927.23 buy point of a flat base. But the stock closed below the entry and volume was well below average, which added up to an uncertain breakout attempt.
Delphi Automotive (DLPH) broke out past the 90.15 buy point of a flat base as shares climbed 2%. While the price action was better, volume also was weak for Delphi.
58.com (WUBA) broke out past the 47.48 buy point of a cup base in heavy volume. The Chinese e-commerce stock closed below the buy point but volume was about double its average.
It was another bad day for retail. Nine of the day’s 10 worst-performing industry groups came from that sector, including department stores, consumer electronics and discount chains. Even a couple of retailers that had been staying above the fray got hammered Monday.
Best Buy (BBY) gapped below its 50-day line in big volume, altering a base the stock had been shaping well up to now. A report said Amazon.com (AMZN) appears to be forming a tech help service that would rival Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
Five Below (FIVE) slid more than 5%, undercutting a pattern it had been shaping for a few weeks. The stock had been trading below the 50-day moving average for a few weeks, but seemed to be shaping the bottom of a new pattern.