Investors took scant comfort Wednesday from the government’s plans to revive the housing market and overall economy.
NEW YORK (AP) — Investors took scant comfort Wednesday from the government’s plans to revive the housing market and overall economy.
Wall Street ended with only modest changes after a steep sell-off Tuesday on worries about the global economy and banks in Eastern Europe. Several moderate rallies unraveled Wednesday as market indicators hovered around the lows they marked in November.
Investors reacted coolly to a $75 billion mortgage relief plan President Barack Obama introduced on Wednesday, which would provide incentives to mortgage lenders to help borrowers reduce their payments.
Plunging home values are at the center of the 14-month-old recession, which has been one of the most severe in decades. The announcement came a day after Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus plan.
“First of all, we have to address the housing market and the more plans that are needed and the more plans that are announced – this is all part of the process,” said Steven Goldman, chief market strategist, Weeden & Co., in Greenwich, Conn. He said it will take time for investors to determine whether the plans are working and that the lingering unknowns will lead to more volatility in the stock market.
According to prelminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average edged up 3.03, or 0.04 percent, to 7,555.63. For a second day, the blue chips managed to finish just above their November closing low.
Broader stock indicators slipped. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.75, or 0.10 percent, to 788.42, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 2.69, or 0.18 percent, to 1,467.97.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 5.72, or 1.33 percent, to 423.18.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers by about 5 to 2 on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume came to a light 1.43 billion shares compared with 1.61 billion shares traded Tuesday.