"There seems to be a real trend toward reducing risk in the
market right now, as more and more uncertainty surrounds the
Ukraine situation and China's economic growth outlook," noted
Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "In a natural
rotation, we are seeing investors trade out of U.S. equities while
cash flow moves into gold and bonds." The
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
moved higher out of the gate, but was quick to tumble into negative
territory, closing with a triple-digit loss and all of its
components in the red. It marked the fourth consecutive decline for
the blue-chip index.
Trading Topic of the Week
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
-- How to Interpret Short Interest:
Eye the stock's price action
. By considering the stock's performance, you can determine the
bears' motivations -- and see whether they've been on the right
side of the trend in the past.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,108.89)
started the session above breakeven, but spiraled lower as the day
wore on, closing with a substantial loss of 231 points, or 1.4%.
All of the Dow's 30 members moved lower on the day, though The
Procter & Gamble Company (PG) and AT&T Inc. (T) were least
affected, each shedding less than 0.1%. Bringing up the rear was
Pfizer Inc. (PFE), down 2.7%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,846.34)
breached the significant 1,850 mark, closing off 21.9 points, or
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,260.42)
was sharply lower on the day as well, down 62.9 points, or
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.22)
spiked amid the sell-off, adding 12.1%, or 1.8 points. The "fear
barometer" had not traded north of 16 since March 3.
A Trader's Take
"Despite today's poor price action, the U.S. markets actually
received a pretty good retail sales number and jobless claims
report this morning," added Bell. "Both perhaps support the theory
that the winter weather was actually to blame for economic weakness
in recent months. But despite the upbeat reports, the global
concerns have been dominating the spotlight in recent days."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- Despite continued polar temperatures, U.S. retail sales
managed to increase 0.3%
last month. This marked the first increase in the figure since
November, and narrowly exceeded economists' expectations. The
reading for January, however, was revised slightly lower to
reflect a drop of 0.6%.
- Jobless claims declined by 9,000 in the week ended March 8,
hitting a three-month low
of 315,000. Economists were expecting the number of claims to
rise in the latest reporting period. Elsewhere,
business inventories rose
0.4% in January, in line with expectations, but business sales
saw a 0.9% slump, which may have partially been due to
- President Barack Obama's three choices for the Federal
Reserve board of governors
sat before Senate Banking Committee members
today. The committee must approve the appointment of Stanley
Fischer, Lael Brainard, and Jerome Powell before the full Senate
holds a vote.
(AP, via ABC News)
- News on the Prime membership front spurred
Amazon.com, Inc. (
short-term call buyers into action, as traders scooped up weekly
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)
was the object of conflicting brokerage opinions today, scoring
both a downgrade and a price-target hike.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Oil futures edged higher today after spending three days in the
red. By the close, April-dated futures had settled 21 cents higher,
adding 0.2% to finish at $98.20 per barrel.
Gold futures continued to gain ground, as a sharp pullback in
the equities market enhanced the yellow metal's safe-haven appeal.
The April-dated contract added $1.90, or 0.1%, to close at
$1,372.40 per ounce, notching its fourth consecutive advance.