Stocks Close the Week Higher with a Quiet Session

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) didn't venture far from breakeven today, staying within a 57-point range. By the close, the blue-chip index settled slightly higher, with a respectable gain for the week.

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


  • Financial earnings start with a whimper, Oracle ( ORCL ) achieves a new milestone, and today's Tweet of the day, which offers one theory on Facebook's ( FB ) upcoming mystery announcement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent a rather quiet day trading around the breakeven mark. The index ended shy of the 13,500 level, up 17 points, or 0.1%. For the week, the Dow closed 0.4% higher. Of the 30 Dow components, half of them closed in positive territory, with Microsoft ( MSFT ) in the lead with a 1.4% gain. At the back of the pack was the Dreamliner-plagued Boeing (BA), which dropped 2.5%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) once again narrowly missed a new five-year high and actually closed down a fraction on the day, shedding less than 0.1 point. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) kept pace with the Dow, tacking on 4 points, or 0.1%. For the week, the SPX added 0.4% and the COMP rallied 0.8%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) continued its descent, closing off 0.1 point, or 1%. On a weekly basis, the index dropped 3.4%.

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Wells Fargo (WFC) was the first of its peers to visit the earnings confessional this morning, ahead of four high-profile names that will report in the upcoming trading days. The results were ultimately mixed. While fourth-quarter profit rose 24% to a new record of 91 cents per share -- two pennies above expectations -- a decline in mortgage lending proved to be a Waterloo, resulting in a negative finish for the shares. Investors were also troubled by a sequential slip in net interest margin to 3.56% from 3.66%.
  • U.S. import prices edged 0.1% lower in December on month-over-month basis, the Labor Department reported today. Economists were expecting an increase of 0.1% for the month. Excluding petroleum, import prices posted a slim 0.1% gain both for December and 2012 overall. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department noted a 15.8% increase in the U.S. trade gap in November, taking it to $48.73 billion. Economists were caught off guard, as they had been expecting a drop in the reading to $41.2 billion.
  • In retail-sector news, Best Buy (BBY) said holiday sales slipped 0.4% to $12.8 billion on a year-over-year basis. The virtually unchanged reading was a pleasant surprise to analysts, who were looking for a decline from the electronics retailer. Same-store sales, meanwhile, were flat domestically and down 6.4% internationally (thanks to weakness in China and Canada), while online sales in the U.S. grew by 10% to $1.1 billion. Putting it mildly, the stock responded well to the news, zooming up 16.4% on the day (and resulting in some very content option traders).

Plus ... Want to compliment Mark Zuckerberg for putting you back in touch with your second-grade boyfriend (or ask what's on tap for that big meeting on Tuesday)? For just $100, you can send a message directly to the Facebook ( FB ) founder's in-box. This takes the recent concept of paying $1 for the right to message non-friends 99 steps further.

Today's Top Tweet :

"Facebook to launch on Mars is the mystery announcement - anything short will be disappointment at this point."

@fundmyfund, (Mark H), 10:51 a.m.

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Option Idea of the Week: OpenTable (OPEN) looks poised to continue its recent trend higher.
  2. American Express (AXP) hit a new multi-year high, attracting the attention of call buyers .
  3. Oracle ( ORCL ) traveled to its highest price since May 2011.
  4. Bullish Chevron (CVX) traders expect a sharp move higher in the coming months.
  5. Starbucks (SBUX) saw its price target lifted by $5 at UBS this morning.

Question of the Day :

Q : What is a margin call?

A : A margin call occurs when a trader is contacted (typically over the phone) by his broker and instructed to deposit additional cash or securities to cover anticipated or realized losses. It can also happen if a trader's account value falls below a minimum threshold. A margin call is nothing an investor ever wants to experience, and it should be understood that it is a demand, not a request. If investors are unable to come up with the cash or additional securities, brokers have the right to liquidate positions in the account to secure the capital.

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

Commodities :

Crude futures lost ground on Friday, with the February contract slipping 26 cents, or 0.3%, to end the day at $93.56 per barrel. For the week, oil advanced 0.5%. Likewise, gold futures turned in a negative session, but a positive weekly performance. Gold for February delivery lost $17.40, or 1%, to close at $1,660.60 per ounce. On a weekly basis, the precious metal edged up 0.7%.

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.

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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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