Dow Finishes Modestly Higher Amid Mixed Earnings

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"It definitely seemed like more of the same today," commented Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "After a crop of earnings reports following yesterday's close, price action was mixed, and by the end of the day, most sectors ended up nearly flat. While financials were relatively weak, healthcare and materials led the broad market." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) muscled back from its morning lows to finish modestly higher.

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

plus...
    Weekly jobless claims ticked higher, General Motors ( GM ) reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, and short-term call volume ramped up on LinkedIn ( LNKD ).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,555.61) sank to an intraday low of 15,455.59 this morning, but managed to recover these losses and then some. By the close, the blue-chip bellwether tacked on 13.4 points, or 0.1%. Chevron ( CVX ) led the Dow's 17 advancers with a gain of 1.1%, while Microsoft's ( MSFT ) 1.8% loss paced the 13 decliners.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,690.25) spent the first half of the session south of breakeven, but ended up in recovery mode by the afternoon to finish 4.3 points, or 0.3%, higher. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,605.19) outshined its peers with an advance of 25.6 points, or 0.7%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.97) backed off of yesterday's gains to end 0.2 point, or 1.6%, lower.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"The market remains incredibly resilient," noted Bell. "Every time you think it's due for a pullback, it continues to churn higher. Volatility remains incredibly low, and right now, all dips are being bought."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The Labor Department said initial jobless claims climbed by 7,000 last week to seasonally adjusted 343,000. Elsewhere, durable goods orders rose by a larger-than-expected 4.2% in June, according to the Commerce Department. (MarketWatch, CNBC)
  • General Motors ( GM ) reported a second-quarter profit of $1.2 billion, or 84 cents per share -- down from $1.5 billion in the year-ago period but besting consensus estimates for a profit of 75 cents per share. Meanwhile, revenue grew by 4% to $39.1 billion. (Reuters)
  • Michael Dell, founder of -- you guessed it -- Dell (DELL), is hoping a rule change will put the takeover odds in his favor. After yesterday's increased bid was met with a tepid response, Dell proposed that nonvoters shouldn't count against the newest deal on the table. The next vote is scheduled for Aug. 2. (Bloomberg)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Las Vegas Sands (LVS) was hit with a barrage of bullish brokerage notes following yesterday's quarterly earnings report.
  2. Sentiment is optimistically skewed toward Sohu.com (SOHU) ahead of next week's turn in the earnings confessional.
  3. Despite yesterday's stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings report, QUALCOMM (QCOM) was slapped with a pair of price-target cuts.
  4. Call buyers wagered on further gains for LinkedIn ( LNKD ) by tomorrow's close.
  5. Pre-earnings speculators from both sides of the options fence converged on Starbucks (SBUX) .

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 oil futures notched a modest gain today, thanks to the Commerce Department's durable goods data. By the time the dust settled, September-dated oil tacked on 10 cents, or 0.1%, to end at $105.49 per barrel.

Meanwhile, on the heels of yesterday's more than 1% drop, gold futures finished higher, thanks to a weaker dollar. By time the closing bell rang, the August contract was up $9.30, or 0.7%, to finish at $1,328.80 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: CVX , GM , LNKD , MSFT , TSL

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