Early bullish resistance to a number of negatives threatened to turn into a full-blown retreat Tuesday afternoon after the S&P 500 breached key support at 920. But the bullish resistance -- epitomized by the "buy the dips" mentality -- resurfaced again in the final hour, leaving major averages just a hair below breakeven. After trading as high as 8550.26 shortly before 10 a.m. EDT and as low as 8416.72 around 3 p.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended off 0.02% to 8491.36. Following similar patterns, the S&P 500 finished off 0.1% at 919.73 vs. its intraday high of 925.34 and low of 912.05, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 0.1% to 1491.09 vs. its best of 1505.18 and nadir of 1480.13. Offsetting better-than-expected earnings from Home Depot ( HD), which many cited for the market's early strength, were ongoing consternation about the dollar -- which fell anew, the government raising its terror-alert level, and more concern about big pharmaceuticals. The Amex Pharmaceutical Index lost another 1.2% after dropping 4.4% Monday following the Supreme Court's decision to not block Maine's plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. There were even reports of an isolated case of so-called Mad Cow disease in Canada, which weighed on (among others) shares of Tyson Foods ( TSN), McDonald's ( MCD) and Wendy's ( WEN); each fell between 5% and 6.5%. On the surface, Tuesday ended up looking like a "nothing" day for the averages. But the comeback in the final hour was impressive, given the litany of negatives and particularly after Monday's sharp setback. I'll have more about this and a look into the current mindset of Wall Street's punditry early Wednesday. Outside of equities, the historic move in Treasuries continued Tuesday with the price of the benchmark 10-year note soaring 1 4/32 to 102 9/32, its yield sliding to 3.35%. The latest rally was spurred, in part, by rumors the Federal Reserve might cut rates prior to its next scheduled meeting on June 24-25. Medley Global Advisors, which provides insight on political-economic issues to institutional clients, was cited as a source for such speculation. The firm's spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.
Treasuries also were boosted by speculation Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan may offer a more downbeat view of the economy during Wednesday's testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. (Meanwhile, RealMoney.com contributor Howard Simons reported "stocks should be given the benefit of the doubt," in his attempt to empirically answer the age-old, but currently critical, question of whether equities or Treasuries are better prognosticators of future economic activity.) The dollar fell to 116.725 yen late Tuesday from 117.32 after the Bank of Japan eased monetary policy via an expansion of money supply, while the euro rose to $1.1704 vs. $1.1663 the prior day. Gold futures rose 0.4% to $368 per ounce.