Stock Market News Today: Reactions to Government Shutdown

Stocks remained buoyant yesterday even as the federal government ground to a halt for the first time in 17 years.

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Biggest stock market news today, before the opening bell: The government shutdown that kicked in yesterday after lawmakers could not agree on a federal budget last night has done little in the way of dampening the stock market. With politicians at odds now, investors are anticipating a faster resolution to another issue -- the debt ceiling issues that will come to the foreground in about two weeks.

While some 800,000 government employees are now furloughed with another million asked to work without pay, investors seem to believe this closure will be short-lived. The shutdown is the first in the United States since 1995.

Shares were generally higher yesterday, as the S&P 500 (INDEXSP: .INX) closed up 0.80% at 1,695.00 points and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX: .DJI) closed up 0.41% at 15,191.70 points.

"The market is not panicked about this," Alexander Friedman, chief investment officer at UBS AG's wealth-management unit, told Bloomberg. "It sets up the political wrangling to take place now as opposed to in two weeks, making a debt default less likely. Between now and Oct. 17 is more of a buying opportunity. We haven't reached any inflection point where investors should give up confidence."

And the stock market enjoyed Tuesday's session in positive territory; Treasury yields are up and prices are down as investors engage in profit taking with Treasuries. Prices had been rising for most of the second half of September amid debate over government spending, but those trends seem to be reversing now.

The 10-year note yield rose 1.7 basis points to 2.66% today and the 30-year bond yield rose 1.01 basis points to 3.72%. And the shorter-term Treasury yields noted even more significant gains as investors feared those notes may not be paid. The one-year note rose as high as 11 basis points yesterday in the largest jump since November.

Stocks Market News: Gold Sector

As stocks and treasury yields rose, gold prices lost about $40 to settle at $1,286.10 per ounce yesterday near a two-month low, and gold stocks sank as a result. On Monday, gold closed the quarter yesterday down 21% year over year.

Among suffering gold stocks: Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM), which generates 90% of its revenue from gold, closed down 3%; Gold Fields (NYSE: GFI), down 3%, hitting new 52-week lows just after the opening bell yesterday; and Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) shed 0.5%.

Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) lost 3% to close at $18.03, trading in a 52-week range of $13.43 to $42.54.

Silver stocks were noting similar trends to gold as investors retreated from the traditionally safe haven metals investments. Among major moves in silver stocks yesterday, Silver Wheaton Corp. (NYSE: SLW) was down 3%, First Majestic Silver Corp. (NYSE: AG) was down 2.7%, and Silvercorp Metals Inc. (NYSE: SVM) shed 3.7%.

Stock Market News: Oil and Energy Stocks

Crude oil futures are also lower. Light sweet crude oil for November delivery was down $0.39 to $101.65 per barrel. Heating oil remained fairly flat at $2.95.

In fact, energy stocks were among the first to fall on Monday as investors feared the shutdown, but yesterday those stocks recovered some of those losses.

The more significant gainers in energy stocks news today include Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES), closed up 2%; Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO), up 0.5%; and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), which is up 1%. Also, Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) is making significant strides, with shares up 1.5%.

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