"There wasn't a major headline that sank us today, it was more just steady selling as the session wore on after starting off higher at the open," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick. "One major concern I have, though, is that Alcoa ( AA ) came out and beat the lowered expectations, yet they were still punished. The question is: will this trend continue as we enter the meat of earnings season?" And with that, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) trudged to a fourth consecutive loss.
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
- Go against the grain : why it's a safe bet to stay long on this bullish market .
- Plus, the SPX is backpedaling toward two critical levels .
And now, a look at the numbers...
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,653.12) endured a roughly 223-point swing today, reaching an intraday peak of 12,830.29 just after the open, and falling to a session low of 12,606.91 in the last 15 minutes of trading. By the closing bell, though, the Dow pared some of its losses and posted an 83.2-point, or 0.7%, deficit. Twenty of the 30 blue chips tumbled, as Alcoa's ( AA ) earnings-induced drop of 4.1% paced the laggards. Kraft Foods ( KFT ) led the nine gaining components with a roughly 1% increase, while Coca-Cola ( KO ) stayed at breakeven.
The S&P 500 Index(SPX - 1,341.47) marched into the red as well today, declining 11 points, or 0.8%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,902.33) sawed off 29.4 points, or 1% -- the worst performance of its fellow benchmarks.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 18.72) turned in a second straight win today, adding 4.1%, and closing below its session high of 19.19.
Today's highlight : "Well, if you're bullish, there was nothing much to be up about. But no matter how bad your day was, it was probably better than Patriot Coal's (NYSE:PCX) day," noted Detrick. "That said, the PCX bankruptcy news hit coal stocks hard. This is one group -- along with financials -- that we've been bearish on for quite some time."
Turning to today's major market stories...
- Ryan suggested why mass sentiment on this bull market is probably wrong .
- Options Trends : Applied Materials ( AMAT ), Qlik Technologies ( QLIK ), and MGM Resorts (MGM).
- Weekly options speculators converged on Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) .
- Dow heavyweights Intel (INTC) and American Express (AXP) were targeted for analyst adjustments today.
- A bullish spread was initiated on uptrending Biogen Idec (BIIB), while a long call spread was implemented on struggling Diamond Foods, Inc. (DMND).
- Call writers bet that Carnival (CCL) will stay below short-term resistance .
- The options pits were all in a frenzy for MBIA Inc. (MBI) .
- Retailers Target (TGT) and J.C. Penney (JCP) were among the standouts in today's session.
- Options bulls think American Eagle (AEO) has the legs to climb higher .
- And in case you missed it... Bernie Schaeffer On Charts : Two Valuable Investing Lessons from the Homebuilders ETF.
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
After a yesterday's rally, oil futures were snagged as the greenback reached a two-year high against the euro on rekindled worries about euro-zone fiscal health. Black gold was also forced lower as Norway avoided an oil production shutdown and China's crude oil imports fell in June. By the close, August-dated crude spiraled $2.08, or 2.4%, to land at $83.91 a barrel.
Gold futures took a dip as well, after ticking higher in early trading on word that the European Union offered an economic aid package to Spain . But this uptrend didn't last long, as the dollar strengthened and a report of missing client funds at U.S. futures brokerage firm PFGBest kept investors parked on the sidelines. Against this backdrop, gold for August delivery gave up $9.30, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,579.80 an ounce.
Levels to watch in trading...
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 12,653.12) - support at 11,500; resistance at 14,000
- S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,341.47) - support at 1,100; resistance at 1,500
- Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,902.33) - support at 2,400; resistance at 3,400
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