Despite Late-Day Dip, Bulls Claim Victory for the Week


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"In what may have seemed like a relatively flat day, the market was really pretty volatile under the surface," reported Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Technology stocks got hammered relative to many sectors, with biotechnology and solar names booking huge losses. We also saw many sectors start off strong, but by the end of the day, most of the major indexes were near breakeven or in the red." For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent most of the day in positive territory, but moved south of breakeven in the final hours of trading, logging a modest daily loss. For the week, the blue-chip index added 1.5%.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including :

Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Get Started with Options: Understand that options expire . Buy-and-holders must remember: With options, the stock needs to move in your favor -- and the sooner, the better.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,302.70) flirted with triple-digit gains in the first half of the session, but ultimately gave back 28.4 points, or 0.2%. Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) paced the Dow's 14 advancers, adding 1.9%, while Nike Inc ( NKE ) led the laggards with a 5.1% decline. For the week, the Dow added 1.5%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,866.40) also spent most of the session in the black, tagging a record intraday peak of 1,883.97 out of the gate. By the close, however, the SPX settled 5.6 points, or 0.3%, lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,276.79) fared the worst of the three; after an initial tick higher, the COMP steepened its slide as the day progressed, surrendering 42.5 points, or 1%, to finish near a session low. For the week, the SPX added 1.4%, while the COMP tacked on 0.7%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.00) clawed its way out of the red in afternoon action, adding 0.5 point, or 3.3%. For the week, the "fear barometer" shed 15.8%.



A Trader's Take :

"There weren't a lot of economic reports released today, but the market is still feeling the effects of the remarks made by Janet Yellen at yesterday's press conference," added Bell. "With perhaps more people fearful of higher rates, we continued to see financials outperform and homebuilding stocks underperform."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota was the sole dissenter to the central bank's policy shift this week. While others agreed that a number of factors would be decided to plot the course of interest rates, the historically dovish Kocherlakota believes the Fed should have maintained its plan of keeping rates near zero until unemployment dips south of 5.5%. (Reuters)
  2. A number of other Fed officials stepped up to the podium today , revealing varied opinions on the future of fiscal policy. Dallas Fed boss Richard Fisher expressed concerns that the new forward-guidance approach to data analysis is simply "another fad," while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard noted that that Chairwoman Janet Yellen's "six months" remark merely echoed what the private sector had already "penciled in" regarding a rate hike. (Reuters with additional reporting by CNBC)
  3. The Federal Reserve found that 29 of the nation's 30 largest banks have ample strength to withstand a severe economic downturn. These "stress tests" -- which were implemented in 2009 -- are performed on all banks with more than $50 billion in assets. The one name that didn't pass its test was Zions Bancorporation (ZION). (USA Today)
  4. With speculators anxious to see what becomes of the Alibaba Group IPO, Yahoo! Inc. ( YHOO ) witnessed above-average activity in its options pits. (YHOO is a primary shareholder of the Chinese e-commerce concern.)
  5. Our Option Idea of the Week explores whether MGM Resorts International (MGM) might be a winning bet for bullish options traders.


For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.



Commodities :

Oil futures moved higher on Friday, amid concerns that continued strain between Russia and the West might impact global fuel supplies. The newly front-month May contract rose 56 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $99.46 per barrel. Comparing front-month contracts, black gold gained nearly 0.6% week-over-week.

Gold broke its losing streak today, advancing for the first time all week. The April contract rose $5.50, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,336 an ounce, as bargain-seeking investors took charge. On a week-over-week basis, the precious metal slipped 3.1%, marking the most significant weekly decline since mid-November.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options
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