Markets Kick Off the Week on a Lackluster Note

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"There really wasn't any significant news over the weekend, and most global markets finished higher, as the 'don't short a boring market' mantra stayed intact," said Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp. "Until there is something new to surface, it's likely the slow grind higher will continue." However, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) pared earlier gains to close in negative territory.

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

plus...
    Pending home sales hit a multi-month low, industrial production gained significant ground, and Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) received a pre-earnings price-target hike.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,568.93) had a bumpy ride this morning, and then rose into positive territory during the afternoon hours. By the closing bell, however, the index was off 1.4 points, or 0.01%. The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ) led the Dow's 17 advancers with a gain of 1.6%, while Merck & Co., Inc.'s (MRK) earnings-induced loss of 2.6% paced the 13 laggards.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,762.11) also spent time on both sides of breakeven, but managed to tag a record intraday peak of 1,764.99 before finishing 2.3 points, or 0.1%, higher -- also notching an all-time closing high. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,940.13) shed 3.2 points, or 0.1%, on the day.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.31) moved higher right out of the gate, and finished with a gain of 0.2 point, or 1.7%, by the closing bell.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The National Association of Realtors said pending home sales fell 5.6% in September, marking their lowest level in nine months. On a year-over-year basis, sales were off 1.2%, denoting the first annual decline in over two years. (MarketWatch)
  • Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) reported third-quarter earnings of $1.12 billion, or 38 cents per share, down from $1.73 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, profits arrived at 92 cents per share, exceeding consensus expectations for adjusted, per-share earnings of 88 cents. (Reuters)
  • The Federal Reserve revealed that industrial production climbed 0.6% in September, notching its largest advance in seven months. Economists, on average, had forecast a gain of just 0.4%. (CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Longer-term call sellers flocked toward Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) despite the stock's year-over-year advance.
  2. Sirius XM Radio Inc (SIRI) attracted near-term bulls -- or skeptics -- following the firm's poorly received quarterly earnings report.
  3. Ahead of tonight's turn at the earnings plate, Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) received an upward price-target adjustment.
  4. Put volume spiked on Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU) , with speculators targeting both short- and long-term options.
  5. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) reiterated its upbeat quarterly sales outlook, triggering a wave of weekly call-buying activity.

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 edged higher for a third straight session, as investors searched today's mixed bag of economic data for tapering clues. By the closing bell, the December contract tacked on 83 cents, or 0.9%, to end at $98.68 per barrel.

Conversely, gold futures settled lower for the first time in three trading days, as the same data had a negative impact on the precious metal. December-dated gold shaved off 30 cents to finish at $1,352.20 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , BRCM , PG , QCOM , TSLA

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