Markets Close Mixed, But Near Breakeven

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"After a volatile start to February, things are calming down some today as the market is catching its breath," said Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was little changed on the day after a strong finish to the month last week. "With both 1,500 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and 14,000 on the Dow out there, some type of consolidating near these levels makes sense."

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

plus...
  • Markets muddle through a mixed day, more legal action involving a market staple, and how option players took to the recent spike by Internet mainstay Groupon Inc. ( GRPN ).

After three straight days with point swings of 90 or more, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was slightly less volatile today, but still rallied toward the close for the second straight winning day. The Dow finished at 13,986.52, gaining just 7 points, or less than 0.1%. 3M Co ( MMM ) led the 19 advancers, jumping 1.2% to hit a new annual high. The 11 decliners were led by semiconductor concern Intel ( INTC ), which lost 0.9%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also gained slightly, picking up less than 1 point, or 0.1%, to close at 1,512.12. Yet it was the seventh time in nine trading days that the SPX stayed above 1,500. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell 3 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 3,168.48.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 2.3% to finish at 13.41.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"The overwhelming consensus is we've gone too far, too fast, and a pullback is due," Detrick said. "Although February is one of the weaker months going back 20 years, it is worth noting that a strong January (like we had) usually leads to a decent February. I'm not sure I'd say a big pullback is due, but potentially some sideways consolidation could be in the cards."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The U.S. Postal Service announced that it was planning to end first-class deliveries on Saturdays in a move that could save $2 billion annually. Packages will still be delivered, and offices will still stay open on Saturdays. (The New York Times)
  • Royal Bank of Scotland (ADR) (RBS) agreed to pay $612 million in fines to settle interest-rate-rigging charges brought by U.S. and British regulators. (Reuters)
  • More details emerged about the U.S. Department of Justice's suit against ratings agency Standard & Poor's, including internal company e-mails that showed at least some inside S&P were concerned about the mortgage-backed securities at the heart of the crisis. (Los Angeles Times)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) drew bullish traders in droves, especially those looking long term.
  2. United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL), parent of United Airlines, received unusual attention from call buyers, perhaps as an offshoot of the ongoing saga involving the 787 Dreamliner from The Boeing Company (BA).
  3. Short-term bulls looked to cash in on the recent price climb in Groupon Inc ( GRPN ).
  4. A new multi-year high by online photo service provider Shutterfly, Inc. (SFLY) drew in not only positive analyst attention, but a new slew of bullish call trades.
  5. Bearish investors looked for Citigroup Inc. (C) to take a step back this week.

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 :

On the heels of news that crude supplies rose by a smaller-than-expected amount last week, March oil futures edged down just 2 cents to close at $96.62 per barrel. Meanwhile, gold futures were higher as investors flocked to the "safe haven" of the yellow metal ahead of this tomorrow's European Central Bank policy meeting. April futures for gold were up $5.30, or 0.3%, at $1,678.80 an ounce.

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 , GRPN , HOV , INTC , MMM

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