"The drama in Washington continues -- in the third day of the
government shutdown, everything seems to be taking a backseat to
the ongoing political gridlock," summarized Schaeffer's Senior
Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The markets greeted this situation
with a heavy dose of selling, but finished well off their lows.
Elsewhere, news of gun shots near Capitol Hill did little to impact
trading." Although the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
pared some of its losses by the close, it still racked up a
triple-digit deficit and ended south of 15,000.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Initial jobless claims inch higher, the Treasury Department
warns of a "financial crisis," and BlackBerry (
) earns mixed reviews on the Street.
Down more than 186 points at its intraday low, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 14,996.48)
closed off 136.7 points, or 0.9%. It was the blue-chip index's
first finish below the 15,000 threshold since Sept. 6. Just one of
the Dow's components -- Verizon Communications (
) -- closed higher, up 0.5%. Boeing (
) paced the 29 decliners, shedding 2.2%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,678.66)
spent the entire session in the red, bottoming out close to noon at
1,670.36. By the closing bell, the index had logged a loss of 15.2
points, or 0.9%. Slightly underperforming was the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,774.34)
, which swallowed a loss of 40.7 points, or 1.1%.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 17.67)
spiked to an intraday peak of 18.71, notching its highest reading
since late June. The market's "fear gauge" pared some of these
gains into the close, settling up 1.1 points, or 6.5%.
A Trader's Take
"Despite the very uncertain situation, it seems like the market
has been pretty resilient," observed Bell. "We continue to see
buying on the dips throughout the day and the market once again
rebounded today after a lot of early selling. Unfortunately, we
still seem to be stuck in a bit of congestion here, as too many
buyers seem to be waiting on a resolution or some clarity from
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- Initial jobless claims
climbed by 1,000
last week to a seasonally adjusted 308,000, reported the Labor
Department. The report was better than expected, as economists
were bracing for a more significant rise. Meanwhile, the
four-week moving average of first-time unemployment claims
dwindled to 305,000, hitting its lowest point since May 2007.
This is the last piece of employment data investors will hear
this week, as the partial government shutdown has left the usual
monthly payrolls report
(ABC News; The Wall Street Journal)
- With the Oct. 17 deadline fast approaching, the Treasury
Department today issued a warning that serious economic
consequences could result
if the debt ceiling isn't raised
. "Credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could
plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative
spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be
a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of
2008 or worse," according to the report.
- Dow component -- and major federal contractor -- United
Technologies (UTX) said it could be
forced to begin layoffs and furloughs
if the government shutdown isn't resolved quickly. The number of
those affected "could exceed 5,000 employees if the government
shutdown continues into next month," announced UTX in a press
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
- One bearish bettor rolled down a put position on erstwhile
Bank of America Corp (BAC)
, in a trade that looks for the stock to potentially enter
single-digit territory over the long haul.
- The newly announced sale of two solar power plants -- plus a
price-target hike from Lazard -- helped
Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ)
soar to yet another new three-year high.
- Amid a pending deal to take the company private,
BlackBerry Ltd (
found itself on the receiving end of both an upgrade
a downgrade today.
Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (QCOR)
was targeted by put players, though investors may be looking to
lock in some paper profits on the stock as it moves off its
- After the streaming radio concern released positive listener
Pandora Media Inc (P)
scored a price-target increase from analysts at BMO.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures ended in the red for the fourth session in five,
as the continued government shutdown prompted concerns about energy
usage. Oil for November delivery settled the day at $103.31 per
barrel, down 79 cents, or 0.8%.
Gold futures also lost some footing, as investors were not drawn
to the metal's safe-haven appeal despite the continued government
shutdown. By the closing bell, December-dated futures had dropped
$3.10, or 0.2%, to close at $1,317.60 per ounce.
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