"There is virtually zero volume, nothing is happening, and
everyone is on vacation," sighed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst
Bryan Sapp. In thin trading, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
moved modestly lower, while the few investors still active
expressed a hesitancy to buy ahead of the fiscal-cliff deadline one
week from today. "There was also no big news over the weekend to
make anything move," Sapp concluded.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
- The latest in Italian politics, high hopes among short-term
Google bulls, and our Tweet of the day, which is likely a popular
mantra among insomniac traders.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
was sluggish throughout the day, spending the entire session
wallowing below breakeven. By the closing bell, the blue-chip index
showed a loss of 52 points, or 0.4%, and remained below its 10-day
moving average. Four of the 30 Dow names enjoyed some positive
momentum, however, with Alcoa (
) leading the bullish quartet with a gain of 0.6%. Hewlett-Packard
) was at the back of the pack, down 2.3% on the day, and Pfizer (
) ended flat.
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
drifted lower as well, giving back 3.5 points, or 0.2%, making a
close solidly south of its respective 10-day moving average. The
lost 8.4 points, or 0.3%.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
, meanwhile, ended the day flat despite an intraday push
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- Politicians engaged in more of the blame game over the
weekend via various media outlets, as policymakers headed off for
the brief Christmas recess without a resolution to the $600
billion fiscal-cliff question. Senator Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn.,
appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and called the potential
drop off said cliff "the most colossal consequential act of
congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in
American history." Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., told Fox News,
"I think the president is eager to go over the cliff for
political purposes." The two central figures in the budget debate
-- President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio -- kept
quiet over the weekend.
- Newly withdrawn Italian prime minister Mario Monti said he
might consider a second term at the helm in the future, were he
backed by fellow supporters of austerity measures (such as tax
increases). Two days after his resignation, however, Monti
remains understandably cynical, noting the decision to stay in
politics at the current juncture would have assumed "a high
probability of failure."
- Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) dragged down the Dow following
reports of disappointing sales for the new Windows 8 operating
system. The news is also a likely letdown for PC manufacturers,
which continue to face sluggish demand despite the introduction
of a fresh (and largely well-reviewed) iteration of Windows.
... Robert Downey Jr. has
come a long way
from his troubled times. In fact -- according to
-- he has cruised all the way to the top of the box-office-receipts
game. Also near the top of this year's list for top-grossing
performers were the trio of stars from the
saga, Christian Bale, and Daniel Craig.
Today's Top Tweet
"I'm not wrong, the market is."
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
- Bullish weekly option traders
gambled on Google Inc (GOOG)
, projecting a pop higher by the end of the week.
- A far out-of-the-money call option saw
in Chesapeake Energy (CHK).
- Longer-term put speculators
- J.C. Penney (JCP)
attracted call buyers
as it moved higher following a positive analyst note.
- AT&T (T) traders called for
downside this week
and snatched up weekly put options.
Question of the Day
: What is the 'Santa-Claus Rally'?
: This is a colloquial term related to the seasonal performance of
stocks between Christmas and New Year's Day. Historically speaking
(over the last 100 years), the
Dow has been positive
68% of the time during Christmas week, with an average return of
0.67%. There are several theories behind this phenomenon, some of
which include investors making portfolio changes ahead of the
year-end tax deadline, or using Christmas bonus money to bolster
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Oil futures had edged higher at press time, with the February
contract up six cents at $88.72 per barrel. Gold futures,
meanwhile, headed south against the backdrop of a rising dollar. In
abbreviated trading, February-dated yellow metal settled down 60
cents at $1,659.50 an ounce.
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
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