© Reuters S&P 500, Dow Hover Near Flatline in Early Wednesday Trading

by Daniel Shvartsman

U.S. stock markets dipped in early Wednesday trading as the slow holiday week rolled on without much direction.

The S&P 500 was up a few points as of 10:45am ET (1545 GMT), up 0.1%, after bouncing between red and green, while the NASDAQ Composite pared early losses to trade down 0.2%, and the Russell 2000 climbed back to break-even. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the stand-out, up 102 points or 0.3%.

Reflecting the Nasdaq’s lagging behavior, several tech stocks were among leading losers in early trading, including Advanced Micro Devices Inc (NASDAQ:AMD), down 2.8%, Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), down 2.3%, and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), down 1%, the last happening in the wake of CEO Elon Musk’s most recent and, apparently, final stock sale for the time being.

Rivian Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:RIVN) traded down 4.7% on news of a delay in the delivery of their bigger trucks and pick-ups. Astra Space Inc (NASDAQ:ASTR) sold off 8.8% on news hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital had a short position in the name, calling it “2021’s worst space SPAC.”

On the positive side of the ledger, memory storage maker Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) traded up 6% to five-month highs, with Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU) not far behind, up 2.6%. Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO) traded up 2.2%, while Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) traded up 1.6%, Gap (NYSE:GPS) traded up 1.2%, Ross Stores Inc (NASDAQ:ROST) traded up 1.1%, and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) traded up 1.7%, in a strong day for retail. Victoria’s Secret added to that tailwind by announcing a $250 million accelerated share buyback plan, and is up 12%.

Crude Oil WTI Futures jumped to be up 1.4% for the day after the EIA crude oil inventories report showed a larger draw then expected on inventories, while Brent Oil Futures also moved up 1.4%. Yesterday’s API data showed lower inventories, a bullish sign for the price of oil despite questions whether record case counts of Covid-19 will slow down the economy or have a major effect on people’s lives this time around.

Cryptocurrencies looked headed for a second straight losing day, with Bitcoin down 2.4%, Ethereum down 2.9%, and Solana outpacing both with a drop of 5.4%.

Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM) pared losses after their earnings report yesterday. The headline report for a slow week, the egg producer missed numbers as they cited labor and feed costs as an issue, both noteworthy as investors sift scant data this week for inflation read-throughs to enter 2022.