Tapering Suggestions Weigh on the Markets Yet Again

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"We experienced a pretty steady decline today that was relatively broad based," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "One key piece of news was out of Washington, where the House of Representatives passed a resolution to fund the government through Dec. 15. While it may seem like good news on the surface, most participants see very little chance of it passing through the Senate." Also weighing on the markets were comments by St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who suggested the Fed could start tapering at its meeting next month. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished the day in the red -- but still managed a weekly advance.

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

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,451.09) was parked north of breakeven for less than 30 minutes this morning, and then proceeded to drop throughout the day, touching a session low of 15,448.09 just before the close. By the end, the index shed 185.5 points, or 1.2%. On a weekly basis, however, the blue-chip barometer added 0.5%. The Dow's three advancers were led by Pfizer's ( PFE ) 0.5% gain, while Caterpillar (CAT) paced the 27 decliners with a drop of 3.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,709.91) suffered the same fate as its blue-chip brethren, and sank to its own intraday low of 1,708.89 near the end of trading. By the closing bell, the SPX was down 12.4 points, or 0.7%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,774.73) shaved off 14.7 points, or 0.4%. For the week, the indexes tacked on 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 13.12) experienced a notable drop this morning, but recovered later in the day to finish less than 0.1 point, or 0.3%, lower. The "fear gauge" lost 7.3% on the week.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"During a day like this, it pays to take a step back and appreciate just how impressive the market has been in September so far," Bell mused. "After an incredibly strong rally to start the month, a little profit taking was bound to happen sooner or later."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • James Bullard weighed in on the Fed's decision not to taper its asset purchases at this time during an interview with Bloomberg television today. The St. Louis Fed president said the central bank could take some time in deciding when to scale back its bond-buying program due to low inflation readings. "While I expect inflation to rise during the coming quarters, I want to see evidence of such an increase before endorsing less accommodative policy action by the [Federal Open Market Committee]," he commented. However, Bullard also noted that the Fed could start tapering at its next meeting, if the next round of economic figures are strong enough. (CNBC)
  • The Republican-skewed House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that will strip funds away from Obamacare , and reallocate them to the government. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called the vote a "victory" for the people, and is now pushing the Senate to approve the bill, as well. House Republicans warned of a potential government shutdown, should the Senate vote against the proposal as expected. (CBS News)
  • Apple ( AAPL ) debuted its iPhone 5s and 5c in stores worldwide today, which drew long lines of customers. The 5c is a less expensive alternative to AAPL's pricier phones, while the 5s offers an improved camera, quicker processor, and a fingerprint scanner. Analysts are predicting a record sales weekend for the tech giant. (The Washington Post)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. An upbeat brokerage note for Facebook ( FB ) triggered a flurry of call activity, but not all of it was of the bullish variety.
  2. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) lured longer-term put sellers to the trading table, amid the security's notable year-to-date gains.
  3. On its last day as a Dow component, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) received some lukewarm coverage at Cantor Fitzerald.
  4. Zynga (ZNGA) -- which is trending higher this month -- saw a spike in soon-to-be front-month call volume.
  5. The latest Option Idea of the Week offers up a bullish trading idea for under-the-radar Regal Entertainment (RGC) .

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 :

Crude futures fell again today, as reports of expanded oil production in Libya further eased anxieties regarding crude supplies in the Middle East. By the close, November-dated oil -- the new front-month contract -- dropped $1.11, or 1.1%, to end at $104.75 per barrel. On a weekly basis, crude shed 3.2% (when comparing front-month contracts).

Meanwhile, gold futures took a breather from their Fed-induced rally, backing off of yesterday's notable high. Gold for December delivery declined $36.80, or 2.7%, to finish at $1,332.50 an ounce, but still managed a weekly advance of 1.8%.

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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , BBRY , BBY , FB , PFE

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