Markets Finish Choppy Session in the Red, End Month in the Black

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"It was a post-Fed hangover, and in the end, not a lot happened," mused Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Facebook Inc ( FB ) received a lot of hype after its solid earnings, and the shares had a roller coaster of a day, finishing in the green by the close. But under the surface, financial stocks were weak, with JP Morgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) leading the way lower." Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed in negative territory on the day, but ended the month solidly higher.

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

plus...
    Initial jobless claims declined last week, the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) surged in October, and Starbucks Corporation ( SBUX ) saw a spike in post-earnings option activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,545.75) spent time on both sides of breakeven today, but ended up finishing 73 points, or 0.5%, lower. For the month, however, the blue-chip barometer gained 2.8%. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) and 3M Co (MMM) led the Dow's nine advancers with gains of 0.9% each, while Visa Inc (V) paced the 21 decliners with a drop of 3.5%, spurred by a poorly received quarterly earnings report.

Likewise, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,756.54) traveled in both positive and negative territory throughout the session before closing with a loss of 6.8 points, or 0.4%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,919.71) shed 10.9 points, or 0.3%. The indexes advanced 4.5% and 3.9% for the month of October, respectively.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.75) churned lower for a large portion of the day, but managed to add 0.1 point, or 0.7%, by the close. On a monthly basis, the "fear gauge" declined 17.2%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"In the end, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) gained nearly 5% for October, making it a huge month," noted Detrick. "When you consider its September gain of just about 3%, we've made it past two of the more bearish months with a big surprise rally that very few were expecting. Now we enter the historically bullish November and December months. Can this rally continue? History does suggest that strength heading into year's end usually spurs more of the same."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 -- slightly higher than the consensus view. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for new claims climbed by 8,000 to 356,250. (CNBC)
  • The Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to a reading of 65.9% in October from the previous month's reading of 55.7%. Not only did the latest figure surpass economists' expectations for a reading of 54.5%, it also marked the index's highest level since March 2011. (MarketWatch)
  • Facebook Inc ( FB ) reported a third-quarter profit of $425 million, or 17 cents per share, versus a loss of $59 million, or 2 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings arrived at 25 cents per share. Meanwhile, revenue came in at $2.02 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting a per-share profit of 19 cents on sales of $1.91 billion. (Reuters)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. A narrower quarterly loss for Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (ALU) triggered an upgrade for the telecom concern this morning.
  2. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) saw a surge in longer-term call volume amid some lawsuit news, as well as the latest M&A development.
  3. Two brokerage firms weighed in negatively on SodaStream International Ltd (SODA) , following the company's dismal turn at the earnings plate.
  4. In the wake of its well-received quarterly earnings report, Starbucks Corporation ( SBUX ) attracted front-month options players.
  5. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) was the focus of a spread strategy, as one trader forecast minimal movement over the next few months.

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 fell yet again today, pressured lower by lingering concerns regarding rising oil supplies. By the closing bell, the December contract lopped off 39 cents, or 0.4%, to finish at $96.38 per barrel. For the month, crude prices shed 5.8%.

Meanwhile, gold futures also declined, as tapering anxieties dragged prices south. December-dated gold shed $25.60, or 1.9%, to end at $1,323.70 an ounce. The malleable metal ended up declining 0.2% in October.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: FB , JPM , NFLX , P , SBUX

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