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Stocks Close Mixed As These Dow Components Find Key Support | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis

Stocks closed mixed Wednesday, while Dow components Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) made promising moves on their charts.

X The Nasdaq composite led with a 0.2% gain, closing off session lows. The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.5% as big-cap techs fared better than other equity classes. The S&P 500 was flat.

In the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell 0.2%, Microsoft rose for a second straight day and is finding support at the 10-week moving average. That’s a good sign as the stock continues to work on a flat base with an 86.30 buy point. In terms of chart action, Microsoft is behaving better than many other tech leaders.

A couple of other Dow components are behaving well at their 50-day moving averages. Visa (V) climbed back above the 50-day moving average in light volume. With a little more conviction, the stock will be in a follow-on buy area. Intel  reversed higher after touching its 50-day line. Watch for a follow-on opportunity for the chip giant.

The Russell 2000’s once promising move has faded. The small-cap index fell 0.5%, lagging other indexes, and has wiped out all gains since it broke out to new highs Nov. 28. Weakness in technology shares, a big piece of the index, has contributed to the Russell’s four-day retracement. The small-cap index is close to a test of the 50-day moving average.

Volume fell across the board, according to preliminary data. Breadth was worse than the indexes would suggest. Losers led winners by 2-to-1 on the Nasdaq and by 7-to-5 on the NYSE.

In today’s market, solar, software, consumer electronics, apparel and other groups formed a scattered picture of leadership. Eight of the 15 worst-performing industry groups were oil-related. Crude prices closed with a nearly 3% loss to $55.96 a barrel after a report of swelling gasoline stockpiles.

Veeva Systems (VEEV) tumbled below its 200-day moving average and touched the lowest level in more than seven months after the medical software company beat profit estimates and offered fiscal-year guidance in line with expectations.

HealthEquity (HQY), an administrator of health savings accounts, also slid below its 200-day average in heavy volume. The company’s quarterly results beat expectations and its outlook was mixed. Full-year EPS was forecast at 64-66 cents vs. a prior view of 64-68 cents. Sales are forecast at $225 million-$228 million from a prior estimate of $223 million-$228 million.

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