Earnings News, Economic Data Lead to a Mixed Finish for Stocks

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"Intel Corporation ( INTC ) had a disappointing earnings reaction, and tech was the big laggard today," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Nonetheless, it was basically another boring week, and that isn't bad." (The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished virtually flat for the week.) "Markets can correct two ways, in price and in time. Well, we've been consolidating sideways so far in 2014, so we're correcting in time, and there is nothing wrong with that. After the huge rally we saw the final four months of last year, some sideways action is normal and very healthy."

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

plus...
    Consumer confidence dips -- and surprises economists -- the housing market continues to show signs of life, and Lululemon Athletica inc. ( LULU ) was the recipient of more bad news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,458.56) spent time on both sides of breakeven, but ultimately closed 41.6 points, or 0.3%, higher, adding 0.1% for the week. The Dow's nine advancers were led by Visa Inc ( V ), which added 4.7%, while Intel Corporation ( INTC ) brought up the rear, losing 2.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,838.70) was in the red for nearly all of the session, and closed down 7.2 points, or 0.4%. Elsewhere, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,197.58) lagged its peers, surrendering 21.1 points, or 0.5%. On a weekly basis, the SPX dropped 0.2%, while the COMP added 0.5%.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.44) slipped lower by the close, settling with a modest loss of 0.1 point, or 0.7%. This week, the market's "fear barometer" added 2.5%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"American Express Company ( AXP ) reported very strong earnings and moved to a new high in response," continued Detrick. "Also, housing starts were stronger than expected, building on some of the better-than-expected economic data we've seen the past month. All in all, earnings season really kicks into overdrive next week, so be on your toes as there could be a lot of movement in individual stocks. Everyone, enjoy the three-day weekend, and we'll see you on Tuesday."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary reading on consumer confidence from January dipped to 80.4 from 82.5 in December. This was a surprise to economists, who were expecting the reading to increase. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  2. United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS) took a tumble today after disclosing that its fourth-quarter earnings will fall short of earlier projections. The shipping giant is attributing the miss to the delivery problems faced during the holiday season. (CNNMoney)
  3. The Commerce Department reported that housing starts dropped 9.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 999,000, a better reading than economists were expecting. For 2013, housing starts rose 18.3% from the previous year, marking the strongest pace of growth since 2007. (USA Today)
  4. Speculators hoping to capitalize on the housing sector's rebound might be interested in our Option Idea of the Week on PulteGroup, Inc. (PHM) .
  5. Capping off a certifiably rocky week, Lululemon Athletica inc. ( LULU ) was swatted with a price-target reduction ahead of the open today.

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 moved slightly higher to end at a two-week peak, but concerns about energy demand kept gains to a minimum. By the close, February-dated oil had added 41 cents, or 0.4%, to $94.37 per barrel. On a weekly basis, black gold rose 1.8%.

Gold futures gained ground as well, thanks in part to a surprise drop in consumer sentiment readings. The February contract jumped $11.70, or 0.9%, to settle the session at $1,251.90 an ounce, the highest reading since mid-December. On a weekly basis, the precious metal ticked just 0.4% higher.

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: AXP , INTC , LULU , V , WMT

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