After notching notable gains in the holiday-shortened week,
traders returned to familiar fiscal-cliff storm clouds, with the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
treading red ink throughout the day. However, the uncertainty was
far from a domestic issue; euro-zone ministers convened to discuss
another round of aid for Greece. Against this backdrop, and despite
reports of a record Black Friday weekend, the Dow surrendered its
perch atop the 13,000 level, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX)
snapped its five-session winning streak.
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
was down more than 100 points at its session low, but found an
intraday foothold in the 12,900 area. By the close, the blue-chip
barometer gave up 42 points, or 0.3%, breaching both the 13,000
level and its 200-day moving average. Among the Dow's 30
components, Hewlett-Packard (
) led the eight advancing equities, tacking on 2.4%, while American
) and Coca-Cola (
) led the bearish majority, shedding 1.5% apiece.
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
also pared its losses in afternoon action, settling on a deficit of
2.9 points, or 0.2%, to halt its five-day rally. On the other hand,
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
clawed its way out of the red, advancing 9.9 points, or 0.3%, to
end a second straight session atop its 20-day trendline.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
spent the day comfortably north of breakeven, adding 2.4% by the
A Trader's Take
"There are continued worries out of Europe and Greece, but the
major indices are also facing overhead resistance from their former
May high and October low," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst
Joe Bell. "Congress is also coming back from Thanksgiving vacation,
and the fiscal-cliff issues will once again take center stage in
the coming weeks."
There were a few bright spots today, though. "Technology stock
holders had a lot to cheer about, as Apple (
) and several tech stocks led the broad market. Considering the
strong run-up we've had during the past several days, today's
sell-off isn't all that surprising as people come back from the
Economic and Earnings News
The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index fell to -0.56 in
October from zero in September, thanks in part to Hurricane
Sandy-related production dips last month. The index's three-month
moving average fell to -0.56 in October from -0.36 in September,
marking its eighth straight negative reading and its lowest reading
in nearly three years. A three-month trendline reading of -0.70 can
portend domestic recessionary pressures, according to the Fed.
The Dallas Fed's manufacturing index fell to negative 2.8 in
November, down from October's reading of 1.8. The drop below zero
points to a contraction in Dallas-area factory activity during the
month. Economists had their sights set markedly higher, with the
consensus calling for a rise to 4.7.
More Stocks Making News
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head
to page 2.
In the Options Pits
Crude futures settled slightly lower today, tracking a wobbly
session for the equities market. With a truce still holding up in
the Gaza Strip, and economists here at home predicting a weekly
increase in crude stockpiles, traders found little motivation to
buy black gold. Oil for January delivery gave up 54 cents, or 0.6%,
to end the day at $87.74 per barrel.
It was an uneventful day for gold futures, as the precious metal
took a bit of a breather following last week's heady gains.
December-dated gold ended on a minor decline of $1.80, or 0.1%, at
$1,749.60 per ounce.
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