"Goldman Sachs downgraded U.S. equities to 'underweight' this
morning, as they see risk of a 10% drawdown, and this may have
pressured stocks lower," said Schaeffer's Senior Options Strategist
Tony Venosa, CMT. "However, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) is still
holding above December's lows, as well as its significant 40-day
moving average." Meanwhile, some tapering comments made by a
regional Fed president also weighed on the market, as the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
suffered its lowest daily close since Dec. 20.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
A Fed official cautiously supported further tapering by the
central bank, the Treasury Department noted a record-high surplus
in December, and option bears ignored
General Motors Company's (
After a brief stint in the black this morning, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,257.94)
gradually declined throughout the day, and ended up finishing 179.1
points, or 1.1%, lower. Merck & Co., Inc. (
) was the Dow's sole advancer -- gaining 6.5% on encouraging news
surrounding its blood clot-preventing treatment -- while Microsoft
) paced the 29 laggards with a drop of 2.9%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,819.20)
charted a similar path as the Dow, and shed 23.2 points, or 1.3%,
for the session. Meanwhile, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,113.30)
fell 61.4 points, or 1.5%.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.28)
spent much of the morning in the red, but reversed course to close
1.1 points, or 9.4%, higher on the day.
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- Although Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart tentatively
spoke in favor of
further cuts to the central bank's asset-buying
, he also warned that "both the employment picture and the
inflation state of affairs have worrisome aspects." Nevertheless,
the Fed official stated during a speech to the Rotary Club of
Atlanta, "If all goes as expected, there is a policy transition
under way from a QE world, so to speak, to a post-QE world."
- The Treasury Department said
the U.S. government's deficit
fell by 41% during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, thanks to
last month's record surplus of $53 billion. The surplus was
largely due to payments from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which
totaled almost $40 billion in December.
Twitter Inc (
scored some bullish brokerage attention in the form of a
price-target hike ahead of the opening bell.
- Bullish sentiment is running high toward
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
ahead of tomorrow morning's earnings report.
General Motors Company (
saw a notable spike in bearish options activity, despite today's
handful of upbeat news headlines.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures drifted lower today, as investors digested the
possibility of increased oil supplies from Iran. The February
contract shaved off 92 cents, or 1%, to end at $91.80 per
Meanwhile, gold futures notched a third straight day of gains,
due in part to last week's lackluster jobs report. February-dated
gold added $4.20, or 0.3%, to finish at $1,251.10 an ounce -- the
loftiest closing price for a most active contract since Dec.
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