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Bulls' Effort Too Little, Too Late as Dow Retreats 104; Index Suffers Third Straight Triple-Digit Drop

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"The market declined pretty steadily since the opening bell, as lackluster earnings on the domestic front took the spotlight," explained Schaeffer's Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. "Rumors also surfaced around midday that Greece may not be able to meet some of its commitments related to economic aid they received. European markets finished near their lows and certainly put pressure on U.S. equity markets." Indeed, at its lowest point of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) had pulled back some 199 points.

Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:

And now, a look at the numbers...

After the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,617.32) tagged its session low of 12,521.84 just after 2:30 p.m. EST, the index bounced higher and made up for a big chunk of its losses. Ultimately, the Dow tallied a 104.1-point, or 0.8%, deficit. All but four of the 30 blue chips closed lower, as Cisco Systems, Inc. ( CSCO ) paced the 26 laggards with a 5.9% drop. On the flip side, JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) led the winning issues with an 0.8% gain.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,338.31) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,862.99) also took the road south today. By the time the dust settled, the SPX gave up 12.2 points, or 0.9%, while the COMP sawed off 27.2 points, or 0.9%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 20.47) turned higher for a third consecutive session, posting a 9.9% rise and an intraday best of 21.00. Today marked the highest daily close for the market's fear gauge since June 15.

Today's highlight : "The market experienced a slight late-day bounce, as we finished well off the lows," confirmed Bell. "Apple Inc.'s ( AAPL ) earnings report has finally arrived, as the company is set to report after the close. All eyes will be on the tech behemoth tonight, and will certainly be a focus for market participants tomorrow."

Turning to today's major market stories...

For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.

Oil futures climbed higher today on well-received manufacturing data out of China. With that, black gold was able to rise despite mounting euro-zone anxieties -- mainly out of Greece and Germany -- and a strengthening dollar. September-dated crude gained 36 cents, or 0.4%, to end at $88.50 a barrel.

Gold futures stayed in the red for a second straight session, as the euro-zone debt crisis proved to be too much for the precious metal. While the greenback was buoyed against a flailing euro, gold for August delivery slipped $1.20, or 0.1%, to land at $1,576.20 an ounce.

Levels to watch in trading...

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,617.32) - support at 11,500; resistance at 14,000

  • S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,338.31) - support at 1,100; resistance at 1,500

  • Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,862.99) - support at 2,400; resistance at 3,400

Click the links for coverage on today's notable annual highs and notable annual lows .

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.

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

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.

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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