Dow Edges Lower Ahead of Friday's Jobs Report

Crude futures close at lowest price in eight months

by 1/9/2014 4:25:20 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"Ahead of tonight's unofficial start of the fourth-quarter earnings season, we saw some mixed results today," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "There was also a jobs report released that was a little better than expected. Overall, we saw a lot of stocks move in different directions, with the broad-market indexes showing very little net change. With all the talk about how we've had a weak start to January, most major indexes are essentially flat for the year, and have held up quite well, given how overbought we were coming into 2014." Ahead of tomorrow's closely watched employment data, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished the session with a modest loss.

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

plus...
    Weekly jobless claims dropped more than expected, the number of planned U.S. layoffs fell to a decade-plus low, and bullish analyst attention didn't keep Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) bears at bay.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,444.76) moved higher out of the gate, but quickly lost momentum, and closed 18 points, or 0.1%, lower for the session. The blue-chip barometer's 11 advancers were once again led by Du Pont (NYSE:DD) -- which gained 1.3% -- while Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) paced the 17 laggards with a loss of 2.1%. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) remained unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,838.13) followed a similar path as the Dow, but managed to add 0.6 point, or 0.03%, by the closing bell. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,156.19) declined 9.4 points, or 0.2%.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.89) spiked notably higher around 11:00 a.m. ET -- and then again around 2:00 p.m. ET -- but tacked on just 0.02 point, or 0.2%, for the day.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by a larger-than-anticipated 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 330,000. Meanwhile, the four-week moving average for first-time filings dropped by 9,750 to 349,000. (Reuters via CNBC)
  2. According to consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of planned layoffs in the U.S. dropped to 30,623 in December, from 45,314 in the month prior -- a 32% decline. This latest figure also marked the lowest number of planned job cuts since mid-2000. (Reuters via CNBC)
  3. Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) scored a price-target hike following Tuesday night's well-received turn in the earnings confessional.
  4. Near-term call buyers targeted Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) to wager on post-earnings highs for the online gaming guru.
  5. Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) saw a surge in put volume, despite receiving a pair of bullish brokerage notes over the past two days.
EARNINGS

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

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