Jobless Claims, Earnings Keep the Downtrend Alive

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"We are now getting to the heart of earnings season, and technology stocks once again lagged the market as various earnings failed to impress market participants," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. Although the tech sector paced the retreat, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) moved lower again, giving back 81 points and closing south of its 20-day moving average for the first time in nearly two months.

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

plus...
  • The Dow takes a dip, economic data fails to impress, and Zynga ( ZNGA ) traders get ready for earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) started the day in positive territory, but it certainly didn't stay there for long. By the closing bell, the blue-chip index had dropped 81 points, or almost 0.6%, to 14,537.14, closing south of its 20-day moving average for the first time since Feb. 26. Seven of the 30 Dow components were higher on the day, with Verizon Communications ( VZ ) up 2.8% to lead the way, following its quarterly earnings report. At the back of the pack was another earnings name, UnitedHealth Group ( UNH ), which gave back 3.8%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) took out former support at the 1,550 level, shedding 10.4 points, or 0.7%, to settle at 1,541.61, its lowest closing level since early March. Underperforming its index peers was the Nasdaq Composite (COMP), which lost 38 points, or 1.2%, to end the session at 3,166.36.


The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) extended its trek higher , tacking on 1.1 point, or 6.4%, to 17.56.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Most sectors finished in the red today," Bell said, "as discretionary names struggled and homebuilding stocks once again failed to bounce. Defensive sectors, however, such as telecom and utility stocks, were able to buck this trend. Right now, those are the safe havens as the slide continues."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The weekly report on unemployment filings came in worse than expected , as initial jobless claims rose by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 352,000. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing index dropped to 1.3 in April from 2.0 last month. (Reuters)
  • Jeffrey Lacker, president of Richmond's Federal Reserve Bank, voiced his disagreement regarding quantitative easing, claiming he would stop all bond-buying efforts right now if he were a "dictator," and questioning the program's overall effectiveness. (CNBC)
  • American Express (AXP) reported first-quarter earnings of $1.15 per share, three cents above analysts' expectations. Despite rising 3.9% to $7.88 billion, however, revenue fell short of the mark. (The Wall Street Journal)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Ford Motor Company (F) put sellers expect the stock to hold its perch above the $11.50 level.
  2. Following yesterday's earnings report, Bank of America (BAC) earned a price-target hike from UBS this morning.
  3. As the stock stagnates, bullish investors are turning away from Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI).
  4. Put speculators targeted Facebook Inc (FB) today, but one large block was likely sold to open .
  5. With earnings scheduled for next week, Zynga Inc ( ZNGA ) caught the attention of call buyers and put sellers.

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 :

Oil bounced from a four-month low today, thanks to an ailing greenback. The May contract gained 1.2%, or $1.05, to close at $87.73 per barrel.

Gold edged higher today as well, with June-dated futures adding $9.80, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,392.50 per ounce. Disappointing domestic economic data -- coupled with investors looking for a bargain -- helped buoy the commodity. While entirely relative, this was the precious metal's highest close so far this week.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's Investment Research reviews the trading day in detail, covering major events and key market developments. Don't miss this critical, timely and insightful report. If you enjoyed today's edition of Market Recap, sign up here for free daily delivery straight to your inbox.



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: AAPL , GE , UNH , VZ , ZNGA

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