Stocks Wrap Up First Losing Month Since August

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"European markets were down quite a bit today, which set a negative tone for U.S. markets in early trading," reported Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT, of a day that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) move further into the red, ending January with a 5.3% loss. "Most major market indexes are trading around their December lows, which have pretty much defined the bottom of this week's range."

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It was back into the red for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,698.85) today, which closed with a loss of 149.8 points, or 0.9%, after spending the entire day south of the flatline. On a weekly basis, the Dow relinquished 1.1%, and lost 5.3% in January. Today, Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) led the Dow's five advancers, with a gain of 2.7%. Chevron Corporation ( CVX ) was at the back of the pack, shedding 4.1% following its quarterly earnings report.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,782.59) also lost ground, shedding 11.6 points, or 0.7%. Elsewhere, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,103.88) moved lower as well, giving back 19.3 points, or 0.5%. The SPX shed 0.4% this week and dropped 3.6% in January; the COMP peeled back 0.6% for the week and 1.7% for the month.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 18.41) powered through the 18 level to settle north of this mark for only the second time since mid-October. At the close, the VIX had gained 1.1 points, or 6.5%. The market's fear gauge posted a weekly gain of 1.5% and a monthly increase of 34.2%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Large-caps and blue-chips once again lagged the market, while home builders and utilities performed quite well," Bell continued. "Right now there seems to be quite the battle between bulls and bears, and today, buyers tried to defend their territory. Bigger picture, we remain in a very tight range, and volatility continues."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for January dipped 1.3 points from last month's reading, to 81.2, roughly in line with expectations. Also, personal spending in December rose 0.4% to top economists' expectations, and personal income was unchanged. (Reuters; FOX Business )
  2. World's leading retailer Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ( WMT ) issued revised guidance for its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings. Sales may also come in south of estimates, due to Brazil-related expenses, inclement weather, and an adjustment to food stamp benefits in the U.S. (USA Today)
  3. In the wake of its post-earnings collapse, Amazon.com, Inc. ( AMZN ) received a handful of brokerage notes from both sides of the fence.
  4. Option bulls continued to bet on additional upside for Facebook Inc (FB) , which tagged a new record high again today.
  5. Option bears have pounced on Avon Products, Inc. (AVP) as the stock visits new annual lows.

EARNINGS

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

STOCKS - NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS - NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities :

Concerns over energy demand reared their head again, sending crude futures lower for the session. By the close, March-dated oil had lost 74 cents, or 0.8%, to rest at $97.49 per barrel. Comparing most-active contracts, black gold slumped more than 0.9% in January.

Gold futures also fell in today's trading, as investors weighed a stronger dollar against continued weakness in stocks. April-dated gold lost $2.70, or 0.2%, on the day to settle at $1,239.80 per ounce. In January, gold futures rose roughly 3.1% when gauging most-active contracts.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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

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


This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AMZN , CVX , MSFT , TTWO , WMT

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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