Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
enjoyed just a few moments in the black before the bears attacked,
with the blue-chip barometer dropping triple digits by the close.
President Barack Obama's trip to the podium did little to stop the
proverbial bleeding, with the commander-in-chief merely calling for
bipartisanship, tax hikes for the wealthy, and ideas to help avert
the "fiscal cliff." Meanwhile, a round of unimpressive economic
data, unsurprising news from the Fed, and escalating tensions in
the Middle East also didn't help.
Continue reading for more on today's market events,
Everything You Need to Know
: Your one-stop shop for levels to watch, economic data, earnings
reports, stocks on the move, and commodities action.
Things just kept getting worse for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
, which surrendered 185 points, or 1.5%, by the time the bell
mercifully sounded. As such, the index ended south of the 12,600
level for the first time since July 12, bringing its week-to-date
loss to 1.9%. Of the Dow's 30 components, just
Cisco Systems (
managed a win, tacking on 4.8% on the heels of a solid earnings
showing. Meanwhile, Bank of America (
) paced the 29 decliners, giving up 3.6%.
It wasn't any better for the
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
, which shed 19 points, or 1.4%, to end near a session nadir. In
similar fashion, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
retreated 37 points, or 1.3%, to mark its lowest settlement since
On the other hand, the
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
-- otherwise known as the market's "fear gauge" -- capitalized on
the uncertainty, advancing 7.6% to climb back atop its 200-day
A Trader's Take
"Where do we start?" said Senior Technical Strategist Ryan
Detrick. "Simply put, the bears are still in control. Getting into
the specifics, the market was lower in the morning, then sold off
more after President Obama spoke. We can blame Obama, Europe,
Greece, or even Spain for the recent troubles; all are getting
blamed for the recent weakness, and today was no different."
Among equities in focus, he says, "those net short or long
Facebook had a helluva day. Congrats. But if you were long, then
today was more misery. One nice thing about today was the round of
earnings reports, which were pretty well-received. Cisco Systems,
Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), and Staples (SPLS) all had some nice
things to say. Given this earnings season has been very weak, this
was a nice change of pace, despite a pretty ugly day."
His advice to investors? "It's important to remember not to be a
hero here," he said. "We will bottom eventually, and we could be
getting very close, but with all of the uncertainties that remain,
Economic and Earnings News
While the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) didn't make any
major moves at its October meeting, the group is considering its
options after Operation Twist expires at the end of this year.
"Looking ahead, a number of participants indicated that
additional asset purchases would likely be appropriate next year
after the conclusion of the maturity extension program in order to
achieve a substantial improvement in the labor market," according
to the minutes of the FOMC's Oct. 23-24 meeting. However, "several
participants questioned the effectiveness of the current purchases
or whether a continuation of them would be warranted if the recent
moderate pace of economic recovery were sustained."
Retail sales declined 0.3% in October to a seasonally adjusted
$411.59 billion, reported the Commerce Department. The drop was
steeper than forecast, with economists calling for a smaller 0.2%
contraction. Superstorm Sandy had a mixed impact on sales; while
some stores saw a surge of shoppers stocking up on storm supplies,
other outlets were impaired by post-event closures and slowdowns in
The producer price index (PPI) dropped by a seasonally adjusted
0.2% in October, according to the Labor Department, marking its
first decline in five months. Excluding food and energy prices, the
core PPI also fell 0.2%, as a rise in food costs offset a drop in
energy expenses. The core index hadn't experienced a monthly drop
since November 2010. Economists were caught off-guard by the data,
with the consensus looking for the headline PPI to rise 0.2% and
the core PPI to gain 0.1%.
Business inventories swelled 0.7% in September to a seasonally
adjusted $1.613 trillion, reported the Commerce Department, edging
past economists' expectations for a 0.6% rise. Sales for the month
were up 1.4% to $1.264 trillion, logging the biggest jump since
March 2011. The inventory-to-sales ratio edged down to 1.28.
More Stocks Making News
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head
to page 2.
In the Options Pits
Crude futures elbowed higher today, despite expectations for the
holiday-delayed inventory report to show a healthy increase in
domestic supplies. Instead, black gold attracted a modest bid after
an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip. By the close, oil for December
delivery tacked on 94 cents, or 1.1%, to finish at $86.32 per
Gold futures also advanced, with the dollar-denominated
commodity tracking strength in the euro. December-dated gold
wrapped up the day on a gain of $5.30, or 0.3%, at $1,730.10 per
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