Dow Claws Its Way Back Into Positive Territory

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"After three straight down days, the market was able to finish in the green," said Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Still, it was similar to the past few days, as volume was very light, and things were rather boring. Then again, this is August, and historically (though with some exceptions), August is a slightly bearish month in which nothing happens." As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) ended the session with a modest gain.

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plus...
    Weekly jobless claims edged higher, Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) received some earnings-induced price-target hikes, and Chesapeake Energy ( CHK ) saw a rare surge in put volume.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,498.32) spiked to an intraday high of 15,557.12, and then tumbled to a session low of 15,418.60 in just over an hour this morning. By the closing bell, however, the index powered north again to end 27.7 points, or 0.2%, higher. Once again, Microsoft ( MSFT ) led the 16 advancing blue chips with a gain of 2.6%, while Intel (INTC) paced the 14 laggards with a decline of 1.1%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,697.48) also rebounded from its morning lows, and ended with a gain of 6.6 points, or 0.4%, to retake control of its 10-day moving average. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,669.12) advanced 15.1 points, or 0.4%, for the session.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.73) had a bit of a rollercoaster ride on the charts today, but closed 0.3 point, or 1.9%, lower -- and back below its 10-day moving average.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Earnings season is nearly over, yet there were some impressive earnings reports last night, and both Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) and Groupon (GRPN) soared today," Detrick noted. "At this point, earnings season would have to be considered a success, and the economy is on much better footing than most feared six weeks ago."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose by a smaller-than-expected 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 333,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for first-time unemployment filings dropped by 6,250 to 335,500, marking its lowest point since November 2007. (MarketWatch)
  • Groupon (GRPN) reported an adjusted second-quarter profit of 2 cents per share -- which was in line with the consensus view -- and revenue of $608.7 million, besting analysts' expectations for sales of $606.2 million. The firm also appointed Eric Lefkofsky as its CEO, and announced plans for a $300 million stock buyback program. (Reuters)
  • J.C. Penney (JCP) is looking for a new CEO , following the April departure of Ron Johnson. A letter penned by Bill Ackman -- one of the retailer's biggest investors -- voiced concern that JCP hasn't filled the position permanently yet. However, the hedge fund manager noted, "Considering the scale of J.C. Penney, the seriousness of the issues it faces, and the complexity of its business, there are only a handful of executives with sufficient talent and experience to take on the CEO role." (CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) received some positive brokerage attention this morning, after revealing stronger-than-anticipated quarterly earnings yesterday.
  2. Bearish speculators showed unusual interest in Chesapeake Energy ( CHK ) by picking the stock's near-term put options.
  3. Analysts at Baird started coverage of outperforming Netflix (NFLX) with a tepid "neutral" rating.
  4. Pessimism abounds on Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) ahead of tonight's second-quarter earnings report.
  5. Bullish traders continued to pounce on Facebook (FB) , and honed in on the security's soon-to-expire weekly calls.

EARNINGS

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

STOCKS - NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS - NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities :

Crude oil futures gave back early gains -- which were prompted by strong trade data out of China -- to end in the red for the fifth consecutive session. By the close, September-dated crude was down 97 cents, or 0.9%, to finish at $103.40 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures muscled back atop the $1,300 mark, thanks to the aforementioned overseas data, as well as a weakening greenback. The December-dated contract surged $24.60, or 1.9%, to finish at $1,309.90 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CHK , MSFT , ORCL , TM , TSLA

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