Dow Falls for Second Straight Day While VIX Spikes

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"The selling that started yesterday afternoon continued today ... and once again, small-caps and tech were hit hard, while the more defensive areas held up better," said Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, of today's trading, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) decline for the second consecutive day -- the biggest two-day selloff since November. "Say what you want, but that isn't the normal mixture in a healthy market."

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

  • Senior Options Strategist Tony Venosa, CMT, has 10 reasons why Morgan Stanley ( MS ) is a good straddle trade candidate.
  • Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp on how this week's market slide "was exacerbated by negative news," and why Kohl's ( KSS ) could be good short play.
  • More news about bullish option trading on Tesla Motors ( TSLA ) in the face of disappointing earnings and a lot of turmoil on the charts.
plus...
  • Mixed economic data on housing, jobs and pricing, the markets continue their slide, and how bulls continue to pull for online gaming concern Zynga ( ZNGA ).

Markets got hammered for the second straight day, with discouraging job market news helping prolong Wednesday's sell-off to send the Dow Jones Industrial Average down nearly 47 points, or 0.3%, to close at 13,880.62. Only nine of the 30 companies on the Dow advanced, led by computer maker Hewlett-Packard Company ( HPQ ), which climbed 2.4%. The 20 decliners were led by Bank of America (BAC), which dropped 3.2%. Chevron Corporation (CVX) finished unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also fell, dropping nearly 10 points, or 0.6%, to close at 1,502.42. The index did stay above the 1,500 mark for the 12th consecutive session, however, albeit by a hair, and it did breach the round-number level in intraday trading. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell nearly 33 points, or 1%, to finish at 3,131.49.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) continued its upward run for the second day, jumping 0.5 point, or nearly 3.7%, to close at 15.22, the first time the VIX has closed above 15 since Dec. 31.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"What really caught my attention today was the action in the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)," Detrick said. "It spiked nearly 30% in two days on just a 2% pullback in the S&P 500 Index (SPX). Everyone was asking, 'where's the fear?' Well, all it took was a quick drop, and we saw a near-historical spike in the VIX relative to the sell-off."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Existing home sales climbed unexpectedly , with real estate agents citing a low inventory, as well as the slow economic recovery. (MarketWatch)
  • But in some discouraging economic news, new jobless claims also shot up in January , a sign that job growth remains sluggish. (The Washington Post)
  • Inflation continued to remain at bay in January according to the latest Consumer Price Index released by the U.S. Labor Department, but that could change in coming months. (CNNMoney)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) has gotten some accolades from Wall Street analysts lately, and bullish option traders paid heed.
  2. Call option volume spiked for online game maker Zynga Inc ( ZNGA ) despite today's pullback in the shares.
  3. Bears are counting on Bank of America (BAC) to counter its current uptrend and head lower in the near term.
  4. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) turned in strong fourth-quarter earnings, possibly ruining the plans of some put traders looking for the shares to drop.
  5. Optimistic call traders were hoping for a boost for Hewlett-Packard Company ( HPQ ) after it releases its earnings tonight.

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 dropped again on Thursday, hitting their lowest settlement point so far this year as the dollar gained and stockpiles increased. April oil futures dropped $2.38, or 2.5%, to $92.84 per barrel.

Gold, however, rose on the day after five consecutive sessions in the red. But the gains were far from impressive, as April gold futures added 60 cents to settle at $1,578.60 per ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's Investment Research reviews the trading day in detail, covering major events and key market developments. Don't miss this critical, timely and insightful report. If you enjoyed today's edition of Market Recap, sign up here for free daily delivery straight to your inbox.



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: HPQ , KSS , MS , TSLA , ZNGA

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