Lackluster Day Driven by GDP News Caps a Strong Week

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"Early this morning, all the talk was about the first-quarter GDP report, which came in a little below expectations," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "This failed to damage the market too much, as it had a pretty mixed day and not a lot of direction either way." For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) managed a modest gain, while its index counterparts stayed close to the breakeven mark. On a weekly basis, however, gains were solid across the board.

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

plus...
  • Stocks end the week solidly in the black , the GDP growth rate fails to meet expectations, and Zynga ( ZNGA ) attracts short-term optimists.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) straddled the line between negative and positive territory for the first half of trading, before ending on a positive, if muted, note. The blue-chip index settled with a gain of 12 points, or 0.1%, at 14,712.55. Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) led the Dow's 13 advancers, with a gain of 1.9%, while Alcoa ( AA ) brought up the rear, shedding 1.4%. This week, the Dow added 1.1%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) , on the other hand, was marginally lower on the day, shedding 2.9 points, or 0.2%, to end the week at 1,582.24. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite (COMP) gave back 10.7 points, or 0.3%, at 3,279.26. Both indexes were solidly higher on a weekly basis; the SPX added 1.7%, while the COMP was up 2.3%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) inched lower as well, surrendering 0.1%, or less than 0.1 point, to settle at 13.61. On a weekly basis, the VIX dropped 9.1%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"We finished one of the biggest weeks of the quarter in terms of earnings releases," noted Bell. "There have been a lot of big moves in both directions, but the major theme seems to be a lot of companies beating on earnings but failing to impress on revenue. Underlying sales growth is definitely something we'd like to see improve as we make our way through this earnings season."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • This morning offered our first peek into how the U.S. economy fared in the first quarter, and the results were slightly disappointing . While the advance gross domestic product (GDP) number showed a 2.5% expansion, economists had been targeting a 3% growth rate. (USA Today)
  • Consumer confidence ticked lower in April, according to the latest reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index , which came in at 76.4. While this is below the late-March reading, it did manage to top expectations. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Beleaguered retailer J.C. Penney (JCP) enjoyed a rare surge on the day, gaining close to 12% after hedge fund manager George Soros reported a 7.9% stake in the company. (New York Times)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Our Option Idea of the Week : take advantage of the continued uptrend in Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB).
  2. Zynga Inc ( ZNGA ) was in rebound mode today, inspiring short-term call buyers .
  3. Mere days ahead of its earnings report, Facebook Inc (FB) was upgraded to a "strong buy" rating at Raymond James.
  4. Call buyers were notably active on Ford Motor Company (F), targeting a front-month, out-of-the-money strike.
  5. Some traders hope the long-term future is bright for Barrick Gold (ABX).

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 retreated today, as the disappointing GDP news sparked demand concerns. Oil for June delivery lost 64 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $93 per barrel. For the week, however, the front-month contract gained 5.7%.

Gold futures also slumped ahead of the weekend, despite racking up some safe-haven gains in intraday action. June-dated gold fell $8.40, or 0.6%, to end the day at $1,453.60 per ounce. On a weekly basis, gold advanced 4.2%.

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: AA , AAPL , HPQ , TSLA , ZNGA

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