"After Friday's surprising reaction to the
stronger-than-expected jobs data, the market seemed to need a day
to catch its breath," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical
Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "There wasn't a lot of news, but we
did see some merger and acquisition activity, which is always a
nice boost to overall confidence." Meanwhile, as investors digested
the latest round of comments from Federal Reserve officials, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
pared some of its gains during the afternoon to end modestly
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Federal Reserve officials offer some insight, McDonald's
) sales disappoint the Street, and Priceline.com Inc (
) defies the skeptics.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,025.53)
spent nearly all of today's session trading above breakeven, but
pared the bulk of its gains by the end to settle with a gain of 5.3
points, or less than 0.05%. General Electric Company (
), Microsoft Corporation (
), and Chevron Corporation (CVX) led the Dow's 17 winners, each
posting a gain of 0.9%. McDonald's Corporation (
) paced the 12 laggards, dropping 1.1%, while Johnson & Johnson
(JNJ) was unchanged.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,808.37)
also closed near its lows of the day after spending the lion's
share of the session in the green. By the closing bell, the index
had managed an increase of 3.3 points, or 0.2%. The
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,068.75)
followed a similar path -- edging up 0.2%, or 6.2 points, but not
before notching a fresh 13-year intraday peak of 4,081.78.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.49)
took a modest tumble, losing 0.3 point, or 2.2%. The market's fear
gauge closed a hair below its 40-day moving average.
A Trader's Take
"Historically, December is flat until about the 15th of the
month, then it goes straight up for the next two weeks," Detrick
noted. "So far, 2013 seems to be playing that potential template
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- Federal Reserve officials provided some insight into when a
reduction to the central bank's asset-buying efforts might begin.
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker
tapering will be up for discussion
at next week's gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee.
Also, James Bullard -- head of the St. Louis Fed -- said modest
cuts to the $85 billion in monthly purchases could begin this
month, given the recent round of positive economic data.
- With the merger between American Airlines and US Airways now
complete, the new combined company
opened for trading on the Nasdaq today
under the symbol AAL and the company name American Airlines Group
Inc. AAL shares closed almost 3% higher in today's session.
- Global sales edged higher at McDonald's Corporation (
) in November, but
failed to meet analysts' expectations
. The chain was negatively impacted by a slowdown in U.S.
same-store sales, which some are attributing to slower service
following the addition of new menu items such as smoothies and
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
Zynga Inc (ZNGA)
option bulls set their sights on the $5 level.
- Despite impressive action on the charts,
Priceline.com Inc (
continues to be targeted by put traders.
- Short-term speculators wagered on a breakout in
Cisco Systems (CSCO)
- Will the diminishing popularity of Budweiser and other brands
take its toll on
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (ADR) (BUD)
Bank of America Corp (BAC)
earned a modest price-target hike ahead of the opening bell.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Oil futures succumbed to selling pressure today on fears of
impending tapering plans from the central bank. The January
contract logged a modest drop of 31 cents, or 0.3%, to end at
$97.34 per barrel, black gold's first negative finish in seven
Gold futures, on the other hand, reacted positively to hints
that the Federal Reserve may soon slow its stimulus efforts. By the
close, February futures had gained $5.20, or 0.4%, to settle at
$1,234.20 an ounce.
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