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Market Edges South for the Week as Fiscal Cliff Impasse Drags On

By: Schaeffer's Investment Research
Posted: 12/14/2012 4:06:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AA;AAPL;AXP;GE;LUV

"The market struggled below breakeven for most of the day and ended the session slightly in the red," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. Despite a few fleeting trips into positive territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed with a modest loss and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) breached short-term trendline support.

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


The bulls put up a worthy fight, actually pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) into positive territory for a few short-lived excursions. Ultimately, however, the index settled with a loss of 35 points, or 0.3%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 19 were in the red, with American Express ( AXP ) faring the worst with a 1.9% drop. Alcoa ( AA ), meanwhile, led the advancers with a gain of 1.8%, while General Electric ( GE ) was unchanged. For the week, the Dow slumped 0.2%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) lost ground as well, giving back six points, or 0.4%, on the day to fall south of its 10-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) brought up the rear once again, shedding 21 points, or 0.7%. The SPX lost 0.3% for the week, while the COMP surrendered 0.2%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) sprinted right up to the 17 mark today, gaining 0.4 point, or 2.7%. On a weekly basis, the index surged 7%.



A Trader's Take :

"This morning, there was better-than-expected economic data out of China, but this news from overseas failed to bolster most U.S. equities," Bell observed. "Elsewhere, Apple ( AAPL ) was dragging down the technology sector, as the stock's bounce off the $520 level was certainly short-lived." Bell also noted, "The [SPX] remained above 1,410, which has been previous support (and resistance) in the past. But overall, there really wasn't a whole lot to celebrate today, and the market was quite bland. As we near the holiday season," he continued, "the pending fiscal cliff remains on most investors' minds and will certainly grab more and more headlines with each passing day."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

Plus ... Southwest Airlines ( LUV ) could be on the hook for $29 million in free drink credits. Plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against the airline more than two years ago, arguing the carrier owed recompense for drink vouchers that expired on Aug. 1, 2010, following a shift in policy for Business Select fliers. The newly settled lawsuit estimates 5.8 million eligible vouchers (worth $5 each, hence $29 million) were not redeemed. In order to collect replacement vouchers (which will expire after one year), class members need only complete a form indicating the estimated number of unused vouchers they had.

Today's Top Tweet :

"Often my best trades are the ones I don't want to make ;-)"
@biggercapital, 9:08 a.m.

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Spurred by concerns over iPhone production rates, UBS cut its price target on Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) by more than 10%.
  2. Call buyers bet on short-term upside in Facebook (FB) shares.
  3. Starbucks (SBUX) options bears think the stock has ample downside ahead over the next few months.
  4. Bullish speculation continued in Zynga (ZNGA) , as the stock presses above previous resistance.
  5. First Solar (FSLR) could be a winning trade idea for bullish contrarians.


Question of the Day :

Q : Where can I find out if weekly or quarterly options are offered on a particular security?
A : The list of available weekly and quarterly options is constantly changing, and is updated by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The list of available weeklies (for indexes, ETFs , and stocks) is here ; the list of available quarterlies is here .

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



Commodities :

Oil futures ended the week up 0.9% after gaining 84 cents, or 1%, to settle at $86.73 per barrel in today's session. Gold futures also advanced, edging up 20 cents to $1,697 an ounce, but closed off 0.5% for the week.


At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's Investment Research reviews the trading day in detail, covering major events and key market developments. Don't miss this critical, timely and insightful report. If you enjoyed today's edition of Market Recap, sign up here for free daily delivery straight to your inbox.