Stocks Little Changed on Sluggish Trading Day


"It was a very slow day, as there wasn't a lot of movement or news out there," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Still, when you consider the strong end-of-week bounce we just saw, not giving back the gains is a plus." By the time the closing bell sounded, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was sitting slightly higher, after spending most of the session below breakeven.

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

  • Money can't buy love, but these four companies are hoping people still open their wallets this Valentine's Day .
  • Tomorrow's earnings on deck include a headline-grabbing pharmaceutical retailer and an outperforming online travel concern.
  • Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner revisits last week's volatility pop (and subsequent drop), and considers what it might mean for the future.
  • Plus ... Carl Icahn eases up on Apple Inc. ( AAPL ), McDonald's Corporation ( MCD ) announces a drop in domestic sales, and Tesla Motors Inc ( TSLA ) speculators eye the $200 level.
Trading Topic of the Week -- Learning to Trade Like the Pros: Trade on data, not emotions . How do you avoid getting chewed up by the panic/euphoria machine? By suppressing your fight-or-flight reflex and trading on facts and figures instead.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,801.79) traded south of the flatline for most of the day, but a burst of late-day buying strength took the blue-chip index into the black by 7.7 points. Leading the 17 Dow advancers were The Walt Disney Company ( DIS ) and Travelers Companies Inc ( TRV ), both of which added 1.8% today. UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH) brought up the rear with its 2.3% drop, and DuPont and Co (DD) was unchanged on the day.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,799.84) was unable to surmount 1,800 in intraday trading, but settled for an advance of 2.8 points, or 0.2%, closing just shy of its intraday peak. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,148.17) outperformed its index rivals, gaining 22.3 points, or 0.5%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.26) continued its recent backslide -- but barely -- reversing 0.2% on the day.



A Trader's Take :

"Tomorrow, Janet Yellen begins her testimony on Capitol Hill, speaking before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee," added Detrick. "It's one of her first times in the spotlight as Federal Reserve Chairwoman, and her remarks will be very closely watched and scrutinized. With that said, tomorrow could very well have more fireworks than today's dull session did."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Activist investor Carl Icahn decided to abandon his proposal that Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) accelerate its rate of buyback activity to $50 billion this year. Icahn's letter to AAPL shareholders pointed out that the company is already on pace to buy back $32 billion of its own shares, and added, "We see no reason to persist with our nonbinding proposal, especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target." Recently, advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services had also addressed Apple's shareholder base, recommending a veto of Icahn's earlier proposal. (Los Angeles Times)
  2. McDonald's Corporation ( MCD ) reported a 1.25% increase in global sales for last month, outpacing analysts' estimates. In the U.S., however, same-store sales dropped 3.3% , a wider pullback than Wall Street had projected. (Chicago Tribune)
  3. As Tesla Motors Inc ( TSLA ) eased to a new record high, short-term call players eyed the $200 level.
  4. Ahead of its earnings release Wednesday evening, Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) saw neutral-to-bullish short-term activity transpire in its options pits.
  5. Still fresh from last week's surge higher, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) reported another exciting partnership and scored a price-target hike.


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



Commodities :

Crude oil made its way above the $100 threshold today, closing at its highest level in 2014. Specifically, March-dated oil futures edged up 18 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $100.06 per barrel.

Gold futures extended their winning streak to four, ahead of tomorrow's remarks from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen. April-dated gold added $11.80, or 0.9%, on the day, closing at $1,274.70 an ounce.


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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , MCD , TSLA , DIS , TRV

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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