Tech Stocks Extend Slide; Dow Surrenders 167 Points


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"The weakness has carried over from Friday," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "It's hard to imagine the S&P 500 Index (SPX) went from a new all-time high to down on the year in just two days, but it happened. Momentum names and technology stocks were the first to crack, and now we're seeing signs that weakness is moving to the overall market." Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) blazed a steady path lower as the session progressed, ultimately surrendering 167 points by the close.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Tips for Trading Stock Trends: Trust that the trend is your friend (but do your homework) . Every trader dreams of capitalizing on the big trend reversal that no one else saw coming. But momentum is a powerful force in the stock market, so why not go with the flow instead of fighting the tide?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,245.87) finished just off its session low, dropping 166.8 points, or 1%. Twenty-three of the Dow's 30 blue chips ended in the red, led by Pfizer Inc.'s (PFE) 3% drop. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) paced the advancing minority, tacking on 1.4%. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), meanwhile, finished flat.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,845.04) swallowed a loss of 20.1 points, or 1.1%, to mark its lowest close since March 14. The broad-market barometer is now in the red for 2014, down 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,079.75) once again fared the worst of the three major benchmarks, concluding its worst three-session drop since 2011. By the close, the tech-rich index retreated 48 points, or 1.2%, to its lowest settlement since Feb. 6.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.57) spent the session in the black, advancing 1.6 points, or 11.5%, to end north of 15.50 for the first time since March 17.



A Trader's Take :

"Technically, the 1,840 level on the SPX has held as support since early March," added Detrick. "With small-caps and tech already breaking all near-term support areas, that is a huge level. Should it give way, another drop could be around the corner." What's more, he said, "If you take a closer look under the hood, things have been deteriorating for a while now. Small-caps and tech have been breaking down all over the place during the past month, with the big blue chips holding tough. Well, now it looks like the last place bulls were hiding is finally starting to crack."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. U.S. consumer credit rose by more than expected in February, advancing by $16.49 billion to $3.13 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. Economists had expected consumer credit to grow by $14.09 billion. Non-revolving credit -- which includes car and student loans -- soared by $18.91 billion, marking the biggest gain in a year. Meanwhile, January's consumer credit figure was upwardly revised to show an increase of $13.8 billion, from $13.7 billion originally. (Reuters)
  2. MannKind Corporation (MNKD) took a tumble after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would take longer than analysts expected to review the company's inhaled diabetes drug . In the same sector, Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (QCOR) surged after Mallinckrodt PLC (MNK) agreed to buy the firm at a 27% premium to QCOR's closing price on Friday. (MarketWatch; Reuters)
  3. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) has built a new TV studio, and reportedly plans to debut six original series for the Xbox this summer. In similar fashion, Yahoo! Inc. ( YHOO ) is allegedly on the verge of ordering four original online TV series . (CNBC; Mashable)
  4. Facebook Inc (FB) options buyers are betting on a recovery, despite the equity's recent swoon.
  5. Analysts offered their two cents on streaming content providers Pandora Media Inc (P) and Netflix, Inc. (NFLX).

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



Commodities :

Crude oil ticked lower today, amid reports that some Libyan ports may re-open. By the close, May-dated crude gave up 70 cents, or 0.7%, to end at $100.44 per barrel.

Gold futures also finished lower, as a sell-off in equities failed to bolster the malleable metal's "safe haven" appeal. Gold for June delivery ended with a loss of $5.20, or 0.4%, at $1,298.30 an ounce.


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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options
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