"After a strong bounce yesterday that saw many major market
indexes reach new all-time highs, a number of sectors gave back
some of these gains today," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst
Joe Bell, CMT. "The good news was that small-caps and technology
led the way, which is a positive sign, as they are the growth
sectors of the market and have led for much of the past couple of
years." Following the latest round of earnings reports, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
finished in negative territory, after two consecutive days of
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Weekly jobless claims dropped to a six-week low, consumer
prices notched their largest gain since mid-2013, and eleventh-hour
option bulls pounced on
Groupon Inc (
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,417.01)
tumbled at the opening bell, and shed 64.9 points, or 0.4%, for the
day. The Dow's 10 advancers were led by McDonald's Corporation's (
) gain of 0.6%, while UnitedHealth Group Inc. (
) paced the 19 decliners with an earnings-induced loss of 2.8%.
Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) remained unchanged.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,845.89)
also spent the day south of breakeven, and closed 2.5 points, or
0.1%, lower. Conversely, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,218.69)
tagged yet another 13-year intraday high of 4,219.28, and added 3.8
points, or 0.1%, for the session.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.53)
gained ground right out of the gate, and finished 0.3 point, or 2%,
A Trader's Take
"If you were anywhere near a solar stock today, count yourself
lucky," mused Bell. "That sector bucked the trend, and many of
those stocks had a massive jump. Much of the rally has been
attributed to China mulling incentives and positive analyst
comments. Although this sector was incredibly strong in 2013,
anyone willing to ride out this trend was very happy today."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- During one of his final public speaking engagements, Fed
Chairman Ben Bernanke
defended the central bank's stimulus measures
over the past five years. "Markets are broadly within historical
ranges, the financial system is stable and firms are
well-capitalized," he stated in a Q&A session at the
Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C.
- The Labor Department said
initial jobless claims
unexpectedly fell by 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted
326,000, marking their lowest level in six weeks. Meanwhile, the
four-week moving average for first-time filings dropped by 13,500
- A separate report showed that the
consumer price index (CPI)
climbed by a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December, denoting the
largest monthly gain since last June. Excluding food and energy
costs, core prices edged up 0.1%.
- Lackluster holiday sales triggered a steep drop for
Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY)
, along with a bearish brokerage note.
Groupon Inc (
attracted front-month speculators, who wagered on last-minute
gains for the daily deals name.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures edged lower, as investors mulled over a production
report from OPEC. The February contract shaved off 21 cents, or
0.2%, to close at $93.96 per barrel.
Meanwhile, a sluggish market and a weaker dollar pushed gold
futures higher, with February-dated gold adding $1.90, or 0.2%, to
finish at $1,240.20 an ounce.
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