Markets Slide Back Below Breakeven Midweek

The Dow and S&P 500 both struggled for direction for most of the day, with the latter coming just a hair's breadth from its record highs, before both eventually turned lower -- the Dow settling with a 152-point drop. The Nasdaq, meanwhile, turned lower during the tail end of today's session, as trader attention remains pointedly fixed on tomorrow's inflation reading, which could give clues into whether higher prices will be short-lived, thanks to rapid economic recovery -- or if they're here to stay. 

The Dow Jones Average (DJI - 34,447.14) fell 152.7 points or 0.4% for the day. Merck & Co (MRK) led the Dow components with a 2.3% rise, while Caterpillar (CAT) paced the laggards, falling 2.3%.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 4,219.55) dropped 7.7 points, or 0.2% for the day. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 13,911.75) shed 13.2 points, or 0.1% for the day.

Lastly, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 17.89) added 0.8 points or 4.8%.

Closing Indexes Summary June 9

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats June 9

Corporate Earnings June 9

Unusual Options Activity June 9

OIL BRUSHES OFF IRAN UPDATE, UPBEAT EIA DATA

Oil prices slipped on Wednesday, dropping from yesterday's two-year highs, even after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) posted a 5.2 million decline in crude inventories for last week. Plus, the threat of sanctions on Iran being lifted is beginning to fade, with U.S. officials hinting the country's return to the market will be unlikely. Despite this news, July-dated crude dropped 9 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $69.96 per barrel.

Gold prices saw a modest gain, with many investors proceeding commodities with caution ahead of upcoming inflation data. The dollar hardened slightly, putting pressure on the precious metal, while anxieties over inflation also weighed. August-dated gold added $1.10, or almost 0.1%, to settle at $1,895.50 an ounce for the day. 

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