Retail Sales Drag Dow Back Down Below 14,000

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"We had another round of earnings that had mixed results, and that's exactly what we got from the market as a whole," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell of today's trading. But he noted that, "the technology sector outperformed," as compared to recent days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gave back most of the previous day's gains, closing back below 14,000.

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

plus...
  • Slower retail sales drag down the market, Time Warner ( TWX ) may be selling its Time Inc. publishing division, and how option bulls are continuing to target social online gaming firm Zynga ( ZNGA ).

A slower growth trend in retail sales got the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) off to a slow start, and it never really recovered, as it dropped back down below 14,000. The Dow finished at 13,982.91 after falling nearly 36 points, or about 0.3%. General Electric ( GE ), which jumped 3.6% in reaction to the news it was selling its remaining stake in NBCUniversal, led the 30-member Dow's 17 advancers. McDonald's Corporation (MCD) fell 1.2% to lead the 13 decliners.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) pulled out a win on the day at the last minute, gaining nearly 1 point, or 0.1%, to close at 1,520.33 and pegged another new multi-year high earlier this morning. The SPX has now solidly established a foothold above 1,500, closing there for the last seven consecutive sessions. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) climbed 10 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 3,196.88.


The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) finished at 12.98, climbing 0.3 point or 2.7%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Retail sales met expectations and December business inventories rose by 0.1% ... (but) most major indexes were slightly negative," Bell noted. "General Electric was a huge bright spot (following news of its sale of 49% of NBCUniversal)."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Retail sales rose just 0.1% in January, the lowest such rise in the last three months, as consumers dealt with a rise in the payroll tax. (Los Angeles Times)
  • There is a potential buyer of the Time Inc. subsidiary of media giant Time Warner Inc. ( TWX ), according to sources. (CNNMoney)
  • President Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour could have a lasting impact on the income gap but also on businesses' bottom lines. (The New York Times)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Online gaming company Zynga Inc ( ZNGA ) was once again the target of bullish call traders looking for an upbeat spring.
  2. The $16.7 billion deal between Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) and General Electric ( GE ) for the remaining 49% of NBCUniversal drew the bulls out in droves for both companies.
  3. Option traders also were gambling on more upside for casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS).
  4. The disappointing earnings from Coca-Cola (KO) drew out bears looking to cash in over the short term.
  5. Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX) saw an uptick in put trading, possibly on concerns of an anticipated pullback from a recent rally.

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 :

A new downward forecast for demand in 2013 sent oil futures falling Wednesday, with crude for March delivery dropping 50 cents, or 0.5%, to end the day at $97.01 per barrel.

A slow market caused by Chinese holidays and a major upcoming international meeting saw April-dated gold shed $4.50, or 0.3%, to finish at $1,645.10 per ounce -- its lowest daily close in nearly six months.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's Investment Research reviews the trading day in detail, covering major events and key market developments. Don't miss this critical, timely and insightful report. If you enjoyed today's edition of Market Recap, sign up here for free daily delivery straight to your inbox.



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: GE , GRPN , MSFT , TWX , ZNGA

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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