"The S&P 500 is still in a battle around 1,400, and after four straight up days the market finally gave back some of its gains," said Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "Data confirming Spain's recession, and the slightly worse-than-expected U.S. income and spending figures, weighed on the market." Despite this negative news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) narrowly avoided what would have been its first monthly loss since September.
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
- Bulls and bears are ready to battle during this week's busy economic calendar.
- Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) skyrocketed on a deal with Microsoft ( MSFT ).
- Plus, Senior Options Strategist Tony Venosa explored a considerably weak duo in the downtrodden coal sector .
And now, a look at the numbers...
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,213.63) notched its first loss in five days, falling 14.7 points, or 0.1%. Of the Dow's 30 components, 15 closed with wins, as Merck's ( MRK ) 2% jump paced the outperformers. On the other hand, Caterpillar ( CAT ) and Bank of America ( BAC ) led the 14 laggards with losses of 1.7% each, while 3M (MMM) finished unchanged. The blue-chip barometer eked out a 0.01% gain for the month.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,397.91) slipped back below 1,400, suffering a 5.5-point, or 0.4%, drop. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,046.36) turned in the worst performance of its fellow benchmarks, and decreased 22.8 points, or 0.7%, on the day. The SPX ended April down 0.8%, while the COMP burned off 1.5%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 17.15) climbed roughly 5.1%, closing just under its session high of 17.41. This marked the VIX's first daily finish atop its 40-day moving average since April 24. The market's fear gauge surged by 10.8% during April.
The Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) fell to 56.2 in April, down significantly from the March reading of 62.2. The report was softer than expected, as economists were looking for a decline to 60.9.
Personal spending edged up 0.3% in March, said the Commerce Department , while incomes rose by 0.4%. The report was mixed, with consensus estimates calling for spending to rise 0.4%, and incomes to climb by 0.2%.
Today's highlight : "The S&P 500 held above the 1,390 level, which acted as previous resistance during the April trading range," noted Bell. "Similarly, the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) is still perched above its previous resistance near the 815 area."
Turning to today's major market stories...
- Equities Analyst Bryan Sapp highlighted several events that could significantly impact this week's trading .
- Coal stocks Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) and Peabody Energy (BTU) could fall even deeper on the charts.
- An options strategist employed a collar on Wal-Mart (WMT) .
- As Express Scripts (ESRX) prepares for next week's quarterly report, sentiment remains mixed .
- Options traders could be looking for some insurance in anticipation of Biogen Idec's (BIIB) first-quarter earnings.
- Put volume rocketed on Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) after Microsoft ( MSFT ) invested in its Nook e-reader.
- Near-the-money call buying soared on Dendreon (DNDN).
- Amazon.com (AMZN) received a price-target hike after last week's well-received quarterly report, while Arkansas Best (ABFS) was knocked lower by post-earnings downgrades .
- Sunoco (SUN) jumped to a multi-year best on M&A news.
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
Oil futures ended their four-session winning streak today, as weak domestic data and economic concerns out of the euro zone weighed on riskier assets, including equities. While the U.S. dollar strengthened, crude for June delivery inched lower by 6 cents, or 0.06%, to settle at $104.87 a barrel. However, black gold added 1.8% for the month.
Likewise, the rising dollar pushed gold futures into negative territory for the day. Gold for June delivery dipped 60 cents, or 0.04%, to close at $1,664.20 an ounce. The malleable metal turned in a 0.5% loss in April.
Levels to Watch in Trading :
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,213.63) - support at 11,500; resistance at 14,000
- S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,397.91) - support at 1,100; resistance at 1,500
- Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,046.36) - support at 2,400; resistance at 3,400
For today's notable annual highs and lows, click here .
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