Markets Little Changed as Fed Minutes Fail to Stimulate

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"Well, minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting were released today, and the market didn't seem to care much," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Heading into the session, many people were bracing for potential volatility, like what we saw after the meeting itself last month." By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was virtually flat on the day, down almost 9 points.

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

  • Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp ponders whether Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's post-close speech will "spark some fireworks" for the market in the near term.
  • Pessimism abounds on JPMorgan Chase ( JPM ) and Wells Fargo ( WFC ) , as both firms prepare to report quarterly earnings this Friday.
  • Citigroup initiated lukewarm coverage of social networking sites Facebook ( FB ) and LinkedIn ( LNKD ) .
plus...
    Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) is found guilty -- and gets slapped with a price-target cut -- and Netflix (NFLX) bears keep trying.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,291.66) finished slightly in the red today, as the Street showed little reaction to the FOMC meeting minutes. The blue-chip barometer had surged to an intraday high of 15,348.95 during the afternoon hours, but ended up shedding 8.7 points, or 0.1%, by the closing bell. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) led the 13 advancers with a gain of 1.8%, while American Express (AXP) paced the 17 laggards with a loss of 1.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,652.62) managed to end a second consecutive session atop the 1,650 mark, and a fourth straight day north of its 50-day moving average. By the close, the index edged 0.3 point, or 0.02%, higher. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,520.76) fared the best of the three, rising 16.5 points, or 0.5%.

After spending time on both sides of breakeven, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 14.21) finished slightly lower, dipping 0.1 point, or almost 1%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"There wasn't a whole lot to get excited about today -- stocks were pretty flat, with a lot of the defensive sectors taking a leadership role," noted Bell. "Many of the cyclical and growth sectors underperformed, while sectors like utilities and telecom led. Earnings season will start to heat up next week, but tomorrow we have some companies reporting same-store sales. With the markets trading at or above their year-to-date highs, it will be interesting to see if the momentum can continue."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Minutes from the June 18-19 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee revealed that many members need further convincing before tapping the brakes on bond-buying efforts. Specifically, central-bank leaders hope to see continued improvement in the employment sector before the inevitable tapering begins. (The New York Times)
  • Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) shareholders essentially shrugged off news that the iPad parent was found guilty of e-book price fixing . U.S. District Judge Denise Cote delivered the ruling in Manhattan, summarizing that "publisher defendants conspired with each other to eliminate retail price competition in order to raise e-book prices, and that Apple played a central role" in the unlawful activity. By the close, AAPL was down less than half a percent. (TIME)
  • Wholesale inventories dropped by 0.5% in May, the Commerce Department reported, marking the reading's steepest drop since September 2011. The figure was a shock to economists, who had expected inventories to rise. (CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Apple ( AAPL ) was slapped with a price-target cut after the company dropped its lawsuit against Amazon.com (AMZN).
  2. Near-term traders showed their faith in QUALCOMM (QCOM) by picking up front-month calls.
  3. Outperforming Netflix (NFLX) remains caught in the bearish trading crosshairs.
  4. Optimistic speculators were betting on longer-term upside -- and a new multi-year high -- for Micron Technology (MU) .
  5. July calls were in vogue for Zynga (ZNGA) ahead of tomorrow's gaming conference in Europe.

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 :

Oil futures finished at a 15-month high today, after the regularly scheduled crude report showed a larger-than-expected decline in crude inventories last week. August-dated oil climbed $2.99, or 2.9%, to settle at $106.52 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures notched a third consecutive daily gain, and rose even higher in electronic trading after the release of the FOMC minutes. The August-dated contract tacked on $1.50, or 0.1%, to close at $1,247.40 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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 , FB , JPM , LNKD , WFC

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