Stocks End Mixed, as Traders Express Caution Ahead of Jobs Number


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"Here's the easiest way to sum up today -- buyers in the morning, sellers in the afternoon," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "In the end, and with many other global markets closed for May Day, it was a slow day on light volume. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) continues to flirt with the 1,880 area , but it just can't get a clear break above it yet." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) , meanwhile, spent much of the session south of breakeven and closed with a modest loss.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Tips to Trade Like the Pros: Develop a healthy sense of skepticism . There's no need to be a knee-jerk cynic, but it certainly pays to be wary of "hot tips" and "sure things" -- no matter where they come from.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,558.87) was confined to an 80-point range today, spending time both in positive and negative territory, but ultimately closed with a 22-point, or 0.1%, loss. Pacing the Dow's 23 decliners today was International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM ), which lost 1.5%. Leading the seven advancers, meanwhile, was Merck & Co., Inc. ( MRK ), up 1.8% today.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,883.68) fought hard into the close, but settled on a loss of 0.3 point, or less than 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,127.45) outperformed its index peers, gaining 12.9 points, or 0.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.25) stumbled further on the day, giving back 0.2 point, or 1.2%, by the close.



A Trader's Take :

"Usually, the day after the Fed policy statement will see a big move in the other direction," added Detrick. "Given we bounced Wednesday after the Fed, today's action was more constructive, as most of the losses were muted. Still, with most of the world on holiday and the monthly jobs data due out tomorrow -- today was a catch-your-breath type of day."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. According to the Labor Department, weekly jobless claims increased by 14,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 344,000. Economists had expected first-time applications for unemployment benefits to fall to 319,000. (FOX Business)
  2. Consumer spending in March spiked by a seasonally adjusted 0.9% from the previous month (the fastest rate since August 2009), while personal income rose by 0.5%, the Commerce Department said. Economists had projected more modest month-over-month increases of 0.7% and 0.4% for personal consumption and income, respectively. (MarketWatch)
  3. The New York Stock Exchange and several affiliates were fined $4.5 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged trading rule violations. The exchange agreed to settle the charges, but neither admitted nor denied guilt. (CNBC)
  4. Meanwhile, option bears descended on Twitter Inc (TWTR) in the hopes of continued post-earnings struggles.
  5. Conversely, ahead of First Solar, Inc.'s ( FSLR ) turn in the earnings confessional next Tuesday, option traders placed bullish bets.


For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.



Commodities :

Oil futures edged lower for the second day in a row, amid disappointing economic data and record crude supplies. By day's end, June-dated crude was off 32 cents, or 0.3%, at $99.42 a barrel -- a five-week low.

Gold futures slipped to their lowest level in over a week, pressured lower by a pop in consumer spending and income, and general caution ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report for April. For the session, gold for June delivery dropped $12.50, or 1%, to end the session at $1,283.40 an ounce.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: TSLA , FB , FSLR , IBM , MRK

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