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Dow Ends Flat as Earnings Season Ramps Up

By: Schaeffer's Investment Research
Posted: 7/22/2013 4:22:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AAPL;ADBE;DHI;MCD;MCP

"It was an incredibly calm day without a lot of movement," said Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "McDonald's ( MCD ) reported worse-than-expected earnings, but did little to put a damper on the market. Financial stocks continued their upward momentum, as many banking stocks have beaten analyst expectations this earnings season." As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) ended up closing modestly higher.

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


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,545.55) spent time on both sides of breakeven today, as Wall Street digested the latest batch of earnings reports. At one point, the index climbed to an intraday high of 15,576.21, but erased most of its gains to finish just 1.8 points, or 0.01%, higher. Microsoft (MSFT) led the blue-chip barometer's 18 advancers with an increase of 1.9%, while McDonald's ( MCD ) paced the 12 decliners with a loss of 2.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,695.53) tagged a new all-time intraday high of 1,697.61, and finished the session just shy of this milestone with a gain of 3.4 points, or 0.2%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,600.39) fared the best of its peers, adding 12.8 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.29) hovered in negative territory for most of the day to finish 0.3 point, or 2%, lower -- marking the lowest close since mid-April.



A Trader's Take :

"We are in the heart of earnings season, with a ton of companies reporting this week," continued Bell. "As alluded to earlier, financials have stood out above the rest during the first few weeks of earnings season. With only about 20% of the companies reporting so far, we still have a long way to go."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Apple ( AAPL ) received a bullish brokerage note ahead of its turn in the earnings confessional post-close tomorrow.
  2. Weekly call buyers zeroed in on the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) , as prices for the precious metal surged.
  3. Recent weakness on the charts may have triggered some negative analyst attention for Crocs (CROX) .
  4. One optimistic trader wagered on some long-term upside for Micron Technology (MU) by scooping up LEAPS calls.
  5. August call sellers bet on price stagnation for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over the next several weeks.


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



Commodities :

Crude oil futures were volatile today ahead of August expiration, and ended up finishing the session in the red. By the time the dust settled, August-dated oil was off $1.14, or 1.1%, to close at $106.91 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures notched their largest daily advance since June 2012, buoyed by weakness in the greenback. By the closing bell, the August contract soared $43.10, or 3.3%, to end at $1,336 an ounce -- the malleable metal's highest finish in nearly a month.