Bulls Tap the Brakes After Fed Announcement, GDP News

VIX closes north of 14 for first time since January 3

by 1/30/2013 4:20:59 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"Today was all about the economy," quipped Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "Meanwhile," he added, "the Federal Reserve said its asset repurchase program would continue, but that did little to stop the slight decline in the broad market." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent the majority of the day in the red and settled near its intraday low, with the 14,000 level still beckoning overhead.

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

  • Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp is intrigued by the price action in a few gauges for "risk appetite."
  • Some Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) speculators turned pessimistic ahead of earnings.
  • Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) attracted short-term options traders around the debut of the BlackBerry 10 and the company's impending name change.
plus...
  • The Fed speaks, the GDP drops, and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) attracts bearish speculators.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was all over the map today, but went into the red for good following this afternoon's release of the Federal Open Market Committee report and decision to keep short-term interest rates near zero. It was only the third down day in 15 sessions for the blue-chip index, which fell to 13,910.42, down 44 points, or 0.3%. Only nine members of the 30-company Dow advanced, led by The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), which jumped 1.3% to close at $74.59 following a strong earnings result. At the bottom of the 21 decliners was General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), which dropped 1.2% to close at $22.23.

Other indices also fell, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) dropping nearly 6 points to close at 1,501.96, down 0.4%. But the SPX stayed above the key 1,500 level for the fourth straight day and was down for only the second time in 11 sessions. And the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell to 3,142.31, shedding 11 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) reflected all the uncertainty, climbing 7.6% to close at 14.32 –hitting its highest point since the first two sessions of 2013.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"Aside from the GDP and Fed news, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) released earnings last night that were well received by the Street today," noted Bell. "While the news didn't lift the broad market, some of the tech-heavy indices showed relative strength."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve's policy-making body, announced today that it was keeping short-term interest rates at their current low level near 0%. The FOMC also said it would continue to buy bonds as part of its effort to further stimulate the economic recovery, and that it was seeing improvement in the housing sector. It said economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter because of weather events such as Hurricane Sandy and other transient issues. (The New York Times)
  • The U.S Gross Domestic Product fell by a 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2012, as reported by the Commerce Department. It was the first such contraction since the second quarter of 2009 (the official end of the Great Recession) and compared to a growth rate of 3.1% in the third quarter of last year. The number will be revised, however, two more times during the next two months. (CNNMoney)
  • Private employers added 192,000 new jobs in January, according to payroll processor ADP's monthly report. ADP also cut its estimate of new December jobs to 185,000, down from the previously reported 215,000. (USA Today)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) was a big target for short-term options players looking to cash in on volatility surrounding the company's earnings release.
  2. Short-term bears were betting against a recent bounce higher in online game maker Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA).
  3. Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) drew a lot of front-month call action on the heels of strong price action and news that its CEO would step down.
  4. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) was downgraded at Macquarie ahead of its earnings release on Friday.
  5. Hoping to cash in on inflated implied volatility levels, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) speculators sold both calls and puts.
EARNINGS

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

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