The S&P 500 Snaps Its Seven-Day Winning Streak; Markets Close Modestly Lower

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"Well, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) couldn't manage eight winning days in a row, and had to settle for a seven-day streak," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Today was a very slow and boring day, and that's not a bad thing. After the run we've had, this looks like the market simply trying to catch its breath." Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent time on both sides of breakeven before settling with modest losses.

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

plus...
    John Kerry heads to Switzerland, Michael Dell gets his way, and Pandora Media ( P ) speculators respond to the company's CEO news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,300.64) lost some ground on Thursday after posting three consecutive triple-digit gains. The blue-chip index did manage to end the day a hair above the 15,300 level, down 26 points, or 0.2%. Eight of the Dow's 30 components finished higher on the day -- led by Walt Disney ( DIS ), which gained 2.4% on share-buyback news. United Technologies ( UTX ) was unchanged, and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) brought up the rear, down 1.9%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,683.42) snapped its seven-day winning streak and only spent a few moments in positive territory during the session. At the close, the index had given back 5.7 points, or 0.3%. Yesterday's laggard, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,715.97) , added to its declines (despite reaching a near-13-year high in morning trading). The tech-rich index ended the day with a loss of 9 points, or 0.2%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 14.29) broke higher after three days in the red, adding 0.5 point, or 3.4%, to close near its intraday high of 14.39.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Financials and small-caps lagged big time today," observed Detrick. "This isn't what you want to see, and is something to monitor. One or two days isn't the end of the world, but if this September surprise rally is to continue, these two influential groups need to assume some leadership."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Weekly jobless claims fell 31,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted reading of 292,000, the Labor Department noted. While this level marked a seven-year low, there is a caveat: two states did not properly process all claims received during the past week. (FOX Business)
  • Talks began between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. The men met in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss Russia's proposal that Syria relinquish its chemical weapons to avoid a military strike. (CNN)
  • Dell Inc. (DELL) shareholders voted in approval of company founder Michael Dell's $25 billion buyout bid that will take the computer maker private. (CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. After hitting a new all-time high in Wednesday's trading, Facebook Inc (FB) secured a price-target hike from J.P. Morgan.
  2. Call volume ramped up in Pandora Media ( P ) option pits after the streaming-music concern appointed a new CEO.
  3. Bullishness among option players has been building as Amazon.com (AMZN) approaches the $300 mark.
  4. Lululemon Athletica (LULU) speculators pounced, following the company's ill-received earnings report.
  5. Groupon (GRPN) saw a slew of options activity in the front- and back-month series, as the stock cruised to a new annual high.

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 extended yesterday's rebound, as heightened tensions with Syria translated into an upbeat global oil demand forecast from the International Energy Agency (IEA). By the close, October-dated crude tacked on $1.04, or 1%, to finish at $108.60 per barrel.

On the other hand, gold futures plummeted amid expectations for a stimulus-tapering announcement from the Fed next week. Gold for December delivery shed $33.20, or 2.4%, to end at a one-month low of $1,330.60 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: DIS , P , TSLA , UTX , YHOO

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