"In what seemed almost like a repeat of yesterday, we had another round of earnings reports and major market averages finished in mixed fashion," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Telecom names and energy stocks both performed quite well, while the materials sector definitely underperformed. Overall, we still seem to be in a consolidation period, as participants digest the slew of earnings reports." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished lower on the day once again, underperforming its index peers.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
- Options traders are betting against Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) ahead of its trip to the earnings confessional.
- Here are two other names with earnings on deck -- in addition to the Seattle software giant.
- In case you missed it , here's a look at how some companies are going back to their roots when it comes to Super Bowl advertising.
- Plus ... Carl Icahn buoys his stake in Apple Inc. ( AAPL ), Big Blue reports quarterly earnings, and Tesla Motors Inc ( TSLA ) is targeted by eleventh-hour option bulls.
Trading Topic of the Week -- Trading Stock Trends Confirm that there are still some skeptics on the sidelines. A solid uptrend is certainly impressive to look at, but a pretty chart alone doesn't guarantee a profitable trade. After all, a rally looks best right at the top.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,373.34) spent its day in the red, ultimately closing 41.1 points, or 0.3%, lower. Eleven of the Dow's components closed higher, led by The Boeing Company's ( BA ) 1.9% gain. Pacing the 19 laggards was International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM ), which suffered an earnings-induced drop of 3.3%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,844.86) inched higher on the day, closing up 1.1 points, or almost 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,243.00) was the day's outperformer, gaining 17.2 points, or 0.4%, and notching its highest close since July 2000.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.84) spent a healthy chunk of Wednesday's session in positive territory, but closed fractionally lower, off less than 0.1 point, or 0.2%.
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM ) announced fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations, but sales figures missed the mark . This was the fourth consecutive quarter that revenue has not been in line with analysts' estimates. (CNBC)
- Offering another vote of confidence in the iPad parent, activist investor Carl Icahn lifted his stake in Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) to $500 million. Icahn continues to apply pressure to Apple executives in hopes of increasing the company's buyback plan. (CNNMoney)
- Tesla Motors Inc ( TSLA ) speculators hit the options pits today, focusing on very short-term bullish bets.
- After its turn in the earnings confessional, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) suffered a pair of price-target reductions.
- SunPower Corporation (SPWR) remains popular among option bears and short sellers, despite its impressive showing on the charts.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures closed at a year-to-date high, after the newly front-month March contract added $1.76, or 1.9%, to settle at $96.73 per barrel.
Gold futures declined for a second consecutive session, following negative comments from an investment bank. By the closing bell, February gold futures were off $3.20, or 0.3%, to end the day at $1,238.60 an ounce.
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