Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
proved resilient today, bouncing back from an early triple-digit
deficit. Fiscal-cliff chatter fueled the market's roller-coaster
session, with optimistic comments from both President Barack Obama
and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) placating the Street. By
the close, the signs of bipartisanship overrode yesterday's
discouraging update from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev),
and made lackluster housing data a virtual afterthought.
Continue reading for more on today's market events,
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
traversed a range of more than 200 points today, but ended on the
plus side. By the time the dust settled, the blue-chip barometer
tacked on nearly 107 points, or 0.8%, to end just off a session
high. Only three of the Dow's 30 components bucked the trend, with
Cisco Systems (
) leading the laggards with a 0.7% drop, and Hewlett-Packard (
) paving the path higher with a 3% gain. AT&T (
), meanwhile, finished flat.
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
also bounced back from Tuesday's drubbing. After hitting an
intraday nadir of 1,385.43, the broad-market index reversed course
to end about 11 points, or 0.8%, higher -- and back atop the 1,400
level. Likewise, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
clawed its way out of the red, tacking on 24 points, or 0.8%, to
finish north of its 200-day moving average for the first time in
more than three weeks.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
, on the other hand, moved opposite stocks, surrendering early
gains to give up roughly 2.6% by the bell.
A Trader's Take
"It's all about the fiscal cliff right now," said Schaeffer's
Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "Stocks started the day lower, but
comments from House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama have
many participants feeling much more optimistic about an agreement
on this issue. We are certainly in a headline-driven market right
now, and it seems like each and every word out of Washington
greatly affect the markets."
Economic and Earnings News
New home sales slowed in October, dropping by 0.3% to a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 368,000, said the Commerce
Department. This was shy of the 385,000 expected by economists.
Also, September's reading was lowered by 20,000 to 369,000 from the
originally reported 389,000.
The U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2% in the third
quarter, but has expanded at just a "measured pace" in the past few
weeks, according to the Fed's Beige Book. Most of the 12 districts
reported "modest improvements in hiring activity," and retailers
appear optimistic about holiday sales, the central bank said.
However, seven districts reported ebbing factory activity -- five
of which attributed the downturn to uncertainty about the fiscal
More Stocks Making News
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head
to page 2.
In the Options Pits
Oil futures posted a third consecutive drop, despite an
unexpected modest decrease in crude supplies. The weekly report
from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a 347,000
barrel-per-day drop in crude supplies versus an estimated rise of
roughly the same amount. January futures posted a 69-cent pullback,
losing 0.8%, to settle at $86.49 per barrel. Elsewhere, the average
gas price for 2012 to date hit $3.63, the highest on record for any
Gold futures for December delivery also declined against a
stronger dollar. By settlement, the yellow metal had dropped
$25.80, or 1.5%, to $1,716.50 an ounce.
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