"We are starting to receive fourth-quarter earnings reports,
although most consider Alcoa Inc's (
) report on Thursday to be the unofficial start of the earnings
season," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The
ADP employment report was released, and the jobs number solidly
beat most expectations. Many participants viewed this improvement
in the labor market as a sign that the Fed will be more likely to
continue tapering its asset-buying program." As a result, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
erased much of yesterday's gains.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
The Fed released its meeting minutes from December, the private
sector added more jobs than expected, and
Microsoft Corporation (
call volume spiked, despite losing a notable CEO contender.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,462.74)
tumbled at the start of the session, and ended up finishing 68.2
points, or 0.4%, lower on the day. The blue-chip index's 10
advancers were led by Du Pont (
) -- which gained 1.3% -- while MSFT paced the 20 decliners with a
loss of 1.8%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,837.49)
experienced some choppy price action throughout the day, and was
down just 0.4 point, or 0.02%, by the closing bell. Meanwhile, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,165.61)
outperformed its peers by tacking on 12.4 points, or 0.3%.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.87)
was parked in positive territory for most of the day, but finished
roughly 0.1 point, or 0.4%, lower.
A Trader's Take
"Overall, the broad market was mixed, with technology taking on
a leadership role, and the Dow clearly underperforming," Bell
continued. "The minutes for the December Fed meeting were also
released late in the day, but we didn't see any widespread response
from the market either way."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- According to the latest
Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes
, the central bank voted to taper amid concerns that the benefits
of its asset-buying program were starting to erode. A survey
included in the minutes revealed that "a majority of participants
judged that the marginal efficacy of purchases was likely
declining as purchases continue."
- Payroll giant Automatic Data Processing (
) said the
private sector created 238,000 jobs
in December, marking the best monthly gain of 2013. Economists,
on average, were expecting the addition of just 200,000 new
Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)
received some bullish analyst attention at Susquehanna ahead of
the opening bell.
- Call players zeroed in on
Baidu Inc (ADR) (BIDU)
as the Chinese Internet stock surged to a record high this
Microsoft Corporation (
call activity ramped up, despite the stock's drop in the wake of
some CEO-related developments.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures faltered today, as reports of a
smaller-than-anticipated drop in oil supplies dragged prices lower.
By the end of the session, the February contract was off $1.34, or
1.4%, to finish at $92.33 per barrel -- the lowest closing price
for a most active contract since late November.
Meanwhile, gold futures suffered their third straight decline
amid stronger-than-expected employment data, as February-dated gold
lost $4.10, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,225.50 an ounce.