Dow Reaches New Record, But Settles for Flat Finish


"Action ahead of the open was rather dull and there was a bit of intraday movement throughout the day, but by the end of the session most major benchmarks finished near where they started," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Once again, it was notable that small-caps and technology stocks underperformed. This is a scenario that has played out more often than not during the past few weeks." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) popped higher out of the gate, but wrapped up the session with a whimper.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Trading Low-Priced Options: DON'T short-change yourself on time . Compared to a front-month contract, an option with six months of shelf life offers more time for the shares to move as you expect. This extra time provides you a little breathing room to allow the predicted price move to play out.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,572.55) hit a new record peak of 16,604.15 in early trading, but finished a choppy session on a loss of just 0.5 point. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components closed higher, led by a 2% bounce for Intel Corporation ( INTC ); meanwhile, Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) paced the 13 decliners with a 0.8% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,888.77) turned in a similar performance, tapping an all-time best of 1,893.80 before ending on a loss of 2.1 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,237.74) fared the worst of the three major benchmarks, giving up 38.7 points, or 0.9%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.37) ticked higher, rising 0.3 point, or 2.1%. However, the "fear index" notched its third consecutive daily close beneath former support at 13.50.



A Trader's Take :

"After making new all-time highs, the major indexes seem to be hovering near these levels as some investors take money off the table and others look to chase the rally," noted Bell. "Many market participants will also look to the jobs report tomorrow morning, as they continue to monitor the health of the U.S. economy in the midst of the Fed's tapering efforts."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Weekly jobless claims rose by 16,000 during the week ended March 29 to hit a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the Labor Department noted. This was a bigger jump than economists were expecting. The four-week moving average, which minimizes week-by-week fluctuations, edged higher by just 250 to 319,500. (FOX Business)
  2. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its services index increased to 53.1 in March after hitting a four-year low the previous month. Economists had been expecting a slightly stronger rebound in the reading. Especially noteworthy was the employment subindex, which advanced to 53.6 after hitting 47.5 in February. (Reuters)
  3. Federal Reserve Governor Jeremy Stein announced he will leave his post to return to his role as economics professor at Harvard University. Stein's term was supposed to run through Jan. 31, 2018, but his last day will officially be May 28. (USA Today)
  4. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN) is one name to watch as it tests multiple layers of potential support.
  5. The 540 strike is in focus as Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) traders place bets on where the stock will end the week.

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.



Commodities :

Crude oil gained ground today, retaking the $100 threshold amid well-received data from the services sector. By the close, the May contract had tacked on 67 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $100.29 per barrel.

Following Wednesday's move into the black, gold futures ran out of steam as the U.S. dollar advanced. The June contract slipped $6.20, or 0.5%, to end the session at $1,284.60 an ounce.


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.

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AMZN , GE , AAPL , INTC , MSFT

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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