Dow Closes a Second Week in the Red, Despite Late Rally

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"An upbeat consumer sentiment survey helped discretionary stocks outperform much of the broad market," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "But energy underperformed as the market failed to hold on to early gains." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished a down week on a slightly up note, rallying at the end of the day to finish in positive territory.

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

  • Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp says the market remains "trapped," but that small caps are a positive sign for the bulls.
  • Our option idea of the week: a bullish profile of homebuilder The Ryland Group ( RYL ).
  • How one bearish trader was betting big against investor Carl Icahn and Herbalife ( HLF ).
plus...
  • Possibly positive economic news, a so-so day in the markets, and a look at the short-term option trading on Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ).

Pulled by down European markets and buoyed slightly by some upbeat economic reports, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) struggled to keep its head above water for most of the day, but rallied at the end to finish at 13,981.76, up 8 points, or 0.1%. Sixteen companies advanced on the 30-member Dow, led by Coca-Cola ( KO ), which shrugged off two days of declines to climb 1.6%. Wal-Mart ( WMT ) had the biggest fall out of the 13 decliners, dropping nearly 2.2%. Cisco Systems ( CSCO ) finished unchanged. The Dow finished the week down nearly 0.1%, its second consecutive weekly loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) fell, dropping 1.6 points, or 0.1%, to close at 1,519.79. The index finished the week up 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) shed 6.6 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 3,192.03. For the week, the COMP fell 0.6%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) finished at 12.46, down 0.2 point, or 1.6%. The VIX finished the week down 4.3%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Not a whole lot of news and the market was flat for the most part," Bell said. "Late in the day, there was a slight sell-off, but most of the losses were erased by close of business."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Consumer sentiment reached its highest level in three months , rebounding from previous worries about the "fiscal cliff." (MarketWatch)
  • Manufacturing slowed down in January, according to the Federal Reserve, but overall the sector appears to be strengthening. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Economists surveyed by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve raised their expectations for the economy for the current quarter and for the second quarter of 2013, and said unemployment would also fall faster than previously predicted. (Chicago Tribune)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Short-term investors swarmed Wal-Mart ( WMT ) looking to cash in on both puts and calls set to expire next week.
  2. AT&T (T) saw a big increase in optimistic call buying, especially in the soon-to-be-front-month March series.
  3. One trader appeared to be looking to take profits on Sprint Nextel (S) calls.
  4. Short-term bears were out in force for Apache Corporation (APA), looking for a quick drop over the next few weeks.
  5. Medtronic (MDT) may be seeing bullish traders looking to cash in on an upcoming earnings release.

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 ended down Friday, with March-dated oil giving up $1.45 on the day, or 1.5%, to settle at $95.86 per barrel. But crude finished the week up, gaining slightly more than 0.1%.

Several professional traders started exiting gold Friday, extending the metal's recent retreat. April gold closed at $1,609.50 an ounce, down $26, or 1.6%, after dipping south of the $1,600-an-ounce mark intraday for the first time since Aug. 15. For the week, the yellow metal dropped 3.4%.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CSCO , HLF , KO , RYL , WMT

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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