Sour Euro Outlook Pulls Down Markets

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"The volatility that has accompanied February continued today," said Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, about today's market that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJA) close down about 0.3%. "Although there wasn't any major headline news, the weakness in Europe is starting to creep into our markets here."

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

plus...
  • The markets swing south, more news on the jobless front, and major bullish action on low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines ( LUV ).

Perhaps starting to take cover in advance of the aforementioned storm (and getting off to a slow start due to concerning news out of Europe), the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell back, finishing at 13,944.05 after falling more than 42 points, or 0.3%. Only six companies advanced on the 30-member Dow, led by American Express Company ( AXP ), which jumped 2.6%. Procter & Gamble ( PG ) was unchanged. Caterpillar Inc. ( CAT ) had the biggest fall out of the 23 decliners, dropping 1.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also fell, dropping nearly 3 points, or 0.2%, to close at 1,509.39. The index did close above the 1,500 mark for the third straight day and the eighth in 10 sessions. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) shed 3 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 3,165.13.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) edged higher on the uncertainty, closing at 13.50, up less than less than 0.1 point, or 0.7%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Things were ugly early, but you have to be impressed with the market's continued resiliency here," Detrick continued. "Nonetheless, with a huge blizzard coming this weekend, expect Friday to be a rather light volume day."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Initial jobless claims fell slightly to 366,000 for this past week, but the fall wasn't quite what was predicted by economists. (MarketWatch)

  • In more jobless news, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Charles Evans predicted that the unemployment rate won't drop to 6.5% for at least another two years -- key since that's the Fed's target with regard to its current interest-rate policies. (CNBC)

  • Many are not happy with the decision by Apple Inc. (AAPL) to eliminate preferred shares - and hedge fund giant David Einhorn took it one step further by suing the tech giant. (The New York Times)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Southwest Airlines Co. ( LUV ) added capacity and immediately caught the attention of bullish option traders.
  2. One investor bought a call spread on Coinstar, Inc. (CSTR) ahead of tonight's earnings.
  3. A recent technical upturn attracted longer-term bulls to QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM).
  4. Bond insurer MBIA Inc. (MBI) saw its stock price cross a significant threshold, and the option bulls noticed .
  5. Short-term bears focused on Transocean LTD (RIG) despite a long-term technical climb.

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 came under fire on Thursday, pressured by weakness in equities and a resurgent U.S. dollar. Oil for March delivery shed 79 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $95.83 per barrel. Gold futures also retreated, with the dollar-denominated commodity tracking losses in the euro. April-dated gold gave up $7.50, or 0.5%, to close at $1,671.30 per ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AXP , CAT , LUV , PG , VZ

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