Wall Street Enduring Another Deep Sell-Off on Defensive Positioning Before Quadruple Witching

A generic image of money and a calculator
Credit: Shutterstock photo

Stocks were sharply lower for a second day in a row, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average Friday dropping nearly 300 points after downgrades of component companies Boeing ( BA ) and Disney ( DIS ). All ten sectors in the S&P 500 also were in the the red, led by losses by shares of utility and financial companies, following early weakness in oil prices as well as defensive positioning ahead of today's quadruple witching when options and futures contracts for stocks and indices expire.

Economic data was mostly bearish for stocks, with the the purchasing manager's index for the services sector falling to a 12-month low of 53.7 in December from November's 56.1 reading, missing expectations for no change from last month.

The Kansas City Fed's manufacturing index plummeted to negative 8.0 reading in December from a positive 3.0 reading during November, while the composite index dropped to negative 9.0 from a positive 1.0 score.

Finally, businesses surveyed by the Atlanta Fed believe inflation will increase to 1.9% from prior estimates of 1.8%, the regional bank district reported.

European markets capitulated to yesterday's sell-off on Wall Street with the major indices all closing in the red. In the UK, mining stocks helped mitigate losses for the FTSE-100, enabling the index to close with a solid gain for the week.

Crude oil was up 34 cents to $35.29 per barrel. Natural gas was up a penny to $1.98 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $16.40 to $1,066.10 per ounce, while silver was up 42 cents to $14.12 per ounce. Copper was up 7 cents to $2.11 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.58% to $10.91 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 1.16% to $7.00. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 3.76% to 13.81 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.56% to $102.07. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.91% to $13.46.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 107.23 (-1.06%) to 10,005.41

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 267.91 (-1.53%) to 17,227.93

S&P 500 down 25.83 (-1.27%) to 2,016.06

Nasdaq Composite Index down 56.19 (-1.12%) to 4,946.37


Nikkei 225 Index down 1.90%

Hang Seng Index down 0.53%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.03%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.76%

CAC 40 down 1.12%

DAX down 1.21%


NYSE Energy Sector Index down 0.21%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 1.21%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.63%


(+) SDLP (+20.51%) Cutting quarterly distribution by more than half to increase liquidity and provide flexibility

(+) GMLP (+23.33%) Has not experienced any material changes in operations since its Q3 earnings announcement on Nov. 30

(+) ROSG (+8.06%) Initiated at Cantor Fitzgerald with buy rating


(-) ATW (-10.94%) Agreed with Daewoo Shipbuilding to delay deliver of the Atwood Admiral until September 30, 2017

(-) KMX (-9.59%) Q3 earnings missed expectations

(-) KNX (-6.49%) Cuts Q4 EPS outlook below street view

(-) ICPT (-5.41%) FDA extends PDUFA date for priority review of obeticholic acid for liver disease

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

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction 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.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Markets Videos


    Founded in 1999, MT Newswires (formerly known as Midnight Trader) is a leading provider of original source, multi-asset class, real-time, global financial news and information to most of the largest banks, brokerage firms and professional market data, trading & research applications in North America.

    Learn More