S&P 500 Hugs the Breakeven Mark as Investors Digest Earnings

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"Despite the worse-than-expected durable goods orders report this morning, the market simply refused to sell off," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "In addition, energy and materials stocks had a stellar day, as commodities are enjoying a strong rebound." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) , meanwhile, traded in a relatively tight range and stayed just south of breakeven for most of the day, ultimately closing off 0.3%.

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

plus...
  • Markets hold steady, durable goods plunge, and Facebook Inc ( FB ) traders bet on a short-term pullback.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) lagged its index peers today, as a pair of its components suffered post-earnings setbacks. Late-day selling put the Dow near its nadir of the day at the closing bell, when it settled at 14,676.30, down 43.2 points, or 0.3%. Half of the Dow's 30 members moved higher on the day, with Microsoft ( MSFT ) again in the top slot, up 3.8%. Procter & Gamble ( PG ) and AT&T ( T ) brought up the rear after poorly received earnings results; PG shed 5.9% on the day, while T lost 5%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) , though, was hardly changed, up 1 cent at 1,578.79. It was a similarly flat day for the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) , which rose 32 cents to close at 3,269.65.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) managed to tick higher amid the inertia, adding 13 cents, or nearly 1%, to 13.61. It was the first winning day for the VIX since last Thursday.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"We are definitely in the heart of earnings season, and receiving mixed reactions in several stocks across several sectors," noted Bell. "Technology seemed to be a big laggard today, as Apple Inc. (AAPL) faced a negative reaction to its earnings news."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Durable goods orders dropped 5.7% last month , according to the Commerce Department. This was the reading's sharpest pullback in seven months, and it disappointed economists, who were projecting a 2.8% decline. (Reuters)
  • Markets rose in Europe for the fourth session in a row, as investors remained hopeful that the European Central Bank will lower interest rates. (Bloomberg)
  • Apple Inc. (AAPL) traded in a wide range today, following an earnings report that narrowly topped estimates, news of a stock buyback and dividend hike, and several price-target cuts along Wall Street. By the close, the shares were up 0.4%. (CNBC/Fortune)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Our Weekly Contrarian : Is J.C. Penney Company (JCP) staging a comeback?
  2. Zynga Inc (ZNGA) scored a price-target hike just ahead of its earnings report.
  3. Bearish speculators made short-term bets against Facebook Inc ( FB ).
  4. Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) saw a spike in call volume as the shares rallied on declining natural gas prices.
  5. Options volume was all over the map in Cisco Systems (CSCO) today.

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 rallied on news that crude supplies grew by less than expected, while gasoline stockpiles dropped. June-dated crude added $2.25, or 2.5%, ending the session near a two-week high at $91.43 per barrel.

Gold was also higher, as a drop in durable-goods orders sent bargain-hungry investors looking for a safe haven. June gold futures added $14.90, or 1.1%, to close at $1,423.70 an ounce, the precious metal's highest close since April 12.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: FB , HLF , MSFT , PG , T

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