"There was weakness overnight in Europe, and domestic futures
indicated lower prices at the open," noted Schaeffer's Senior
Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Despite a lack of major economic
news, the markets slid, and had one of their biggest down days in
weeks." Against this backdrop, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
suffered a triple-digit loss.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Weekly jobless claims fell to a four-week low, the ISM's
manufacturing gauge exceeded expectations, and
Apple Inc. (
was hit with some negative brokerage attention.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,441.35)
faltered at the sound of the opening bell, and ended up closing
135.3 points, or 0.8%, lower on the day. The Dow's three advancers
were led by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (
) -- which gained 0.3% -- while Du Pont (DD) and General Electric
Company (GE) led the 27 decliners with losses of 1.9% each.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,831.98)
also headed south right out of the gate, and ended the session with
a loss of 16.4 points, or 0.9%. Meanwhile, the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,143.07)
was off 33.5 points, or 0.8%, by the closing bell.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.23)
was parked in the black for the entire day, and finished 0.5 point,
or 3.7%, higher.
A Trader's Take
"Despite a ton of weakness across the board, many solar stocks
had a really nice day," Bell observed. "These names were among
2013's big leaders, and it was nice to see some of the momentum
continue during such a weak session."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- The Labor Department said
initial jobless claims
fell by 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, marking
their lowest level in a month. However, the four-week moving
average for first-time filings climbed by 8,500 to 357,000.
- The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM)
arrived at 57.0 in December -- slightly down from November's
reading of 57.3. Nevertheless, the latest reading still exceeded
Apple Inc. (
was slapped with a bearish brokerage note at Wells Fargo ahead of
the opening bell.
- Short-term option bulls -- or possibly hedging short sellers
-- pounced on
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD)
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)
saw a surge in bearish options activity, as traders scooped up
the stock's weekly puts.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures were dragged lower today, amid a stronger dollar
and reports of increased oil production in Libya. By the close, the
February contract shed $2.98, or 3%, to end at $95.44 per
Meanwhile, gold futures jumped, thanks to news of an increase in
physical buyers. February-dated gold climbed $22.90, or 1.9%, to
finish at $1,225.20 an ounce.
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