"Congress was finally able to come to an agreement late
yesterday, and the potential fallout from the debt ceiling was
avoided at the last minute," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst
Joe Bell, CMT. "While many view this as nothing more than just
pushing back the decision, the markets now have a little bit of
clarity for the time being. Today's market reaction was widely
mixed, as we're really starting to get into earnings season." The
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
was the session's laggard, while the
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
claimed new technical milestones.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
A Fed leader offered his thoughts on the tapering topic, weekly
jobless claims fell less than expected, and a poorly received
earnings report for International Business Machines (
) triggered some negative analyst attention.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,371.65)
tumbled to a session low of 15,229.02 at the sound of the opening
bell, and despite narrowing its losses throughout the day, the
index still finished 2.2 points lower. The Dow's 24 advancers were
led by American Express (
), which gained 5.1% on strong earnings, while International
Business Machines (
) paced the six decliners, as its own quarterly report spurred a
drop of 6.4%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,733.15)
fell at the start of the session, it muscled back into positive
territory later in the day to tag a new all-time intraday high of
1,733.45. By the end, the index was up 11.6 points, or 0.7% --
notching a record closing peak, as well. Not to be outdone, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,863.15)
finished with a gain of 23.7 points, or 0.6%, and touched another
13-year intraday high of 3,863.49.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.48)
spent the day in the red, dropping to a session nadir of 12.89
during the first hour of trading. By the time the dust settled, the
"fear barometer" was off 1.2 points, or 8.4% -- marking its lowest
finish since Sept. 20.
A Trader's Take
"The Washington drama might finally take a backseat to
earnings," Bell went on. "With the third-quarter earnings season
getting underway, it will be nice to have a little attention on
company performance, rather than political debates and press
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- A last-minute
debt ceiling deal
may have put an end to the 16-day government shutdown, but as
President Barack Obama put it, "There are no winners here." After
signing off on the temporary bill to avoid default, the commander
in chief surmised that "the American people are completely fed up
with Washington," and called for Congress to take a "balanced
approach" on further budget negotiations to "free up resources
for things that do help the country grow."
- With the debt ceiling crisis (temporarily) out of the
has resumed. Charles Evans -- a voting member of the Federal Open
Market Committee (FOMC) -- noted that it's still too soon for the
central bank to start easing its bond-buying program. "The data
are still not definitive enough to say that now is the time to
adjust the QE3 flow purchase rate," said the Chicago Fed
president during a speech delivered at a real estate conference
in Madison, Wis.
- The Labor Department said
initial jobless claims
fell by 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 358,000 --
surprising economists who were expecting a drop to 335,000.
However, this latest figure may be off due to computer issues in
California. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for
first-time unemployment filings increased by 11,750 to 336,500.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
- A stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings report for
American Express (
triggered a round of bullish brokerage notes.
- Near-term traders wagered on a post-earnings move for
by snapping up front-month calls and puts.
International Business Machines (
received some downbeat analyst attention, after its quarterly
revenue fell short of consensus estimates.
- Short- and longer-term put players swarmed
Micron Technology (
, with both groups betting on a decline for the security.
- As earnings loom,
speculators placed bearish bets by purchasing November-dated put
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
A larger-than-anticipated spike in oil supplies dragged crude
futures lower today, along with concerns regarding the effect the
government shutdown will have on the economy. By the time the
closing bell rang, the November contract shaved off $1.62, or 1.6%,
to end at $100.67 per barrel -- the lowest settlement since July
Conversely, gold futures gained more ground, thanks to the 11th
hour debt ceiling deal reached by congressional leaders.
December-dated gold surged $40.70, or 3.2%, to finish at $1,323 an
ounce -- the malleable metal's highest close in more than a