Stocks quoted in this article:

"It was a very slow day, without a lot of big news," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "We will have hundreds of earnings and a Fed meeting later this week, though," he added, "so expect more volatility to come soon." In today's trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) pegged another new multi-year high out of the gate but spent much of the day slightly below breakeven, ultimately closing with a slight loss.

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

  • Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp reviews the key levels to watch and an interesting metric to consider during the "big week ahead."
  • Options action heated up in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ahead of earnings, with speculators honing in on both calls and puts.
  • For the first time in 2013, the VXX failed to hit a new lower low, and Schaeffer's Contributor Adam Warner has the details.
plus...
  • Fitch Ratings dismisses its earlier threat, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) speculators prepare for earnings, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) strategists expect limited volatility.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) wasn't able to muster a seventh consecutive up day, despite notching a new multi-year peak of 13,915.72 in early trading. At the closing bell, the blue-chip index was off 14 points, or 0.1%. Leading the dozen Dow names that moved higher today was Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), which rose nearly 2% after its earnings report. Bringing up the rear was Alcoa (NYSE:AA), which closed with a 1.4% loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) spent the majority of the session trading below the breakeven mark but closed little changed, down 2.8 points or 0.2%, to stay (narrowly) atop the 1,500 mark. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) outperformed thanks to strength in some of its major components; the index closed 4.6 points higher, up 0.2%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) gained 5.3% on the day, as investors anticipated a week chock-full of news. After hitting an intraday peak of 13.91, the VIX closed up 0.7 point.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"When you consider how supposedly overbought the market is here, not to have much of a pullback on a slow news day is rather impressive," observed Detrick. "We saw mixed news today on the economic front, with strong durable-goods data but lackluster pending housing sales numbers. Still," he continued, "Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) reported earnings and had some positive things to say regarding demand for the second half of 2013. Right now, it is all about outlooks, and hopefully CAT has started a trend that we'll see throughout earnings season."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rolled out iOS 6.1, the operating system's first major update since September. Included among the new features is 4G LTE support for additional carriers. Meanwhile, the stock powered almost 2.3% higher as investors emerged for a little bargain hunting. (CNET)
  • Fitch Ratings said a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating is no longer imminent, thanks to the recent debt-ceiling agreement in Washington. The agency said policymakers now have room to concentrate on "substantive fiscal policy choices," with the fiscal-cliff and debt-ceiling crises currently averted. (Reuters)
  • Durable goods orders rose 4.6% in December, topping the expected increase of 1.8%. Excluding transportation numbers, orders were 1.3% higher last month, above estimates for a 0.7% increase. (NASDAQ)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) strangle sellers expect limited volatility through the next several weeks.
  2. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) option players expressed bullishness ahead of the company's earnings report.
  3. Meanwhile, VMware (NYSE:VWM) saw put-buying activity before its earnings report.
  4. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) weekly option buyers expect new highs are on the horizon.
  5. Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) again ascended to first place among global automakers.
EARNINGS

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

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