Dow Drops, S&P 500 Gains as Investors Weigh Earnings Reports

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"Today was all about earnings, and we saw a mixture of reactions," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "There was a ton of intraday volatility, but in the end we didn't see a lot of net movement either way." After being down more than 140 points at its intraday nadir, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) settled with a modest loss, while other major indexes closed slightly higher.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Trading Stock Trends: Trust that the trend is your friend (but do your homework). Every trader dreams of capitalizing on the big trend reversal that no one else saw coming. But momentum is a powerful force in the stock market, so why not go with the flow instead of fighting the tide?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,414.44) started the day in the black, but its gains quickly unraveled. The blue-chip index bottomed out during the lunch hour, and ultimately closed with a loss of 44.1 points, or 0.3%. The Dow's dozen winners were led by The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ), which added 1.6%, while the 18 losers were paced by Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS), down 1.8% on the day.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,843.80) managed to close in positive territory, settling 5.1 points, or 0.3%, higher after coming within two points of another intraday record high. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,225.76) tagged a new 13-year peak of 4,227.93 shortly out of the gate, and settled with a gain of 28.2 points, or 0.7%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.87) moved higher as well, adding 0.4 point, or 3.5%. The VIX topped the 13 mark in intraday trading, but was unable to close north of this threshold.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Although we were relatively flat today," Bell continued, "it's nice to see stock correlations at very low levels and good trading opportunities for stock pickers."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) reported fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that narrowly topped analysts' expectations . In other news, the telecom name announced plans to acquire the assets of Intel Media -- a cloud television concern -- from Intel Corporation (INTC). (Forbes)
  2. The Dow Chemical Company ( DOW ) ran to a new multi-year high today after activist investor Daniel Loeb revealed a sizable stake in the chemical manufacturer. The manager of the Third Point hedge fund is also encouraging DOW to spin off its petrochemical division. (Reuters)
  3. BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) surged on a positive fundamental development, spurring call buyers into action.
  4. Days before its fiscal first-quarter earnings release, Starbucks Corporation ( SBUX ) suffered a downgrade at Goldman Sachs.
  5. Our Tuesday Tumble reveals why Marathon Oil Corporation (MRO) could continue to underperform in the weeks ahead.

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 futures had a positive start to the week, after the International Energy Agency lifted its 2014 outlook for energy demand. On its final day of trading, the February-dated contract added 62 cents, or 0.7%, to $94.99 per barrel.

Gold futures, on the other hand, gave back some of their recent gains amid a rising greenback. February gold futures slipped $10.10, or 0.8%, to $1,241.80 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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: AMZN , DOW , KO , SBUX , ZNGA

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