Opening View

Dow Jones Industrial Average Points South Amid Fiscal-Cliff Limbo

An upwardly revised China PMI helped the Shanghai Composite rally

by 12/31/2012 8:17:56 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) is eyeing a sixth straight loss, with futures on the blue-chip barometer decidedly lower ahead of the bell. Fiscal-cliff negotiations are continuing to dominate headlines, with no solution in sight, and the deadline just hours away. U.S. lawmakers are racing against the clock, but Wall Street seems convinced that no resolution will be reached before the ball drops at midnight.

With uncertainty swirling, Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp tells us he's watching a number of levels on the S&P 500 Index (SPX), including "the 1,385 and 1,400 areas to the downside, and the 1,420 mark on the upside." Additionally, "the $500 region for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)" continues to demand Sapp's attention.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are more than 73 points below fair value.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 672,136 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 429,236 put contracts. Both the resultant single-session put/call ratio and the 21-day moving average arrived at 0.64.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

From the Trading Floor

"One thing I noticed last week is that the term structure of CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) futures is very flat right now," continued Sapp. "VIX is a futures-traded contract, so there are different expirations going out every quarter. Typically, further-dated VIX futures are much higher than near-term VIX futures because volatility can explode quickly, and a longer time frame leaves open a greater possibility for a VIX spike. The current flat-term structure is the market's way of saying it's expecting near-term volatility in excess of that a few months from now. I think this has bullish contrarian implications, considering the market generally confuses the greatest number of participants."

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is up 0.2% in pre-market trading, with the currency last seen near $79.81.
  • Crude oil is continuing to pull back, with the front-month contract 0.7% lower at $90.20 per barrel.
  • Elsewhere, gold futures are up 0.4% ahead of the bell to trade at $1,662 an ounce.
Currencies and commodities

Earnings and Economic Data

The holiday-shortened week kicks off with the Dallas Fed's manufacturing survey. There are no notable earnings due for release.

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