Dow Edges North After Bernanke Remarks

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"It was a very quiet day on Wall Street, with below-average volume," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Between the holiday week and the big storm in the northeastern part of the United States, we really experienced a lack of participation. The technology-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP) slightly lagged the rest of the market, as Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) -- a large component in the index -- was down 2.2%. Elsewhere, financials and industrials were the real standouts today, and airline stocks logged another impressive session." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) advanced for the day, but edged lower for the week.

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

plus...
    Ben Bernanke defended his run as Fed chairman, December auto sales news hit the Street, and Facebook Inc ( FB ) received a bullish brokerage note.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,469.99) experienced some choppy price action throughout the session, but finished 28.6 points, or 0.2%, higher on the day. For the week, however, the blue-chip index shed roughly 0.1%. The Dow's 15 advancers were led by Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) -- which gained 0.9% -- while Verizon Communications Inc. ( VZ ) led the 15 laggards with a drop of 1.2%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,831.37) spent time on both sides of breakeven, and ended up closing with a modest loss of 0.6 point, or 0.03%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,143.91) fell 11.2 points, or 0.3%. On a weekly basis, the indexes lost 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.76) stumbled at the start of the session, and finished 0.5 point, or 3.3%, lower. Week-over-week, however, the "fear barometer" advanced 10.4%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke defended the central bank's monetary policies during the American Economic Association's annual meeting. Although he noted that the economy still has a long way to go, he also said that "for the most part, research supports the conclusion that the combination of forward guidance and large-scale asset purchases has helped promote the recovery." (MarketWatch)
  2. General Motors Company (GM) said the auto industry's December sales would likely arrive at an annualized rate of 15.6 million vehicles, which would fall short of consensus estimates. However, it is still projected to be the best year for auto sales since 2007. (Reuters)
  3. Facebook Inc ( FB ) received an upward price-target adjustment at BofA-Merrill Lynch in pre-market action.
  4. The latest Option Idea of the Week highlights why Yelp Inc (YELP) could be poised for additional gains.
  5. Citigroup Inc (C) has seen extreme levels of bullishness among both speculators and analysts lately.

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 closed in the red again today, as a spike in oil supplies -- along with forecasts for increased oil projection out of Libya -- dragged prices lower. By the time the dust settled, the February contract fell $1.48, or 1.6%, to end at $93.96 per barrel. For the week, crude shed 6.3%.

Meanwhile, gold futures continued to rebound, with February-dated gold adding $13.40, or 1.1%, to finish at $1,238.60 an ounce. On a weekly basis, the precious metal advanced 2%.

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: AAPL , FB , JNJ , T , VZ

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