Overseas Troubles Pressure Dow Jones Industrial Average Lower

Facebook Inc (FB) skeptic puts his money where his mouth is

by 7/29/2014 4:22:42 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) started the session in the green -- briefly climbing back atop 17,000 -- but gradually made its way south of breakeven to end with a loss. Overseas worries weighed on investors' minds, as Western sanctions against Russia and fighting in Gaza overshadowed a solid round of earnings and economic reports. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also ended lower after spending much of the morning and afternoon in positive territory.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Trading Low-Priced Options: DON'T be tempted by the cheapest option available. It may seem like a good idea to keep your entry costs low by purchasing the lowest-priced option available. However, bear in mind that the cheapest contracts are most likely to expire worthless.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,912.11) dropped 70.5 points, or 0.4%, by the close. A mere six of the Dow's 30 components finished higher, paced by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), which gained 2.6%. The rest of the blue-chip stocks posted losses, with UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) finishing as the session's biggest loser, down 1.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,969.95) slid nearly 9 points, or 0.5%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,442.70) finished just south of breakeven, down 2.2 points, or 0.05%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.28) jumped 0.7 point, or 5.7%, for its first daily close above 13 since July 17.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) began its two-day policy-setting meeting today. Pundits expect the central bank -- which will announce its policy decision tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET -- to keep tapering its economic stimulus program, but they're less clear about the future of low interest rates. (FOX Business)
  2. Members of the European Union (EU) agreed to a new set of economic sanctions to impose on Russia, limiting the latter's ability to trade weapons, and curtailing its access to the EU's capital markets and sensitive technologies, among other terms. The White House announced its own sanctions, but underscored that this is not the start of another Cold War. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. Israel's military stepped up its efforts in Gaza today, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising the nation is prepared for an extended campaign. While many in the international community are calling for a cease-fire, Israel insists the campaign is necessary to stop the rocket fire of Hamas, and demands that Gaza be demilitarized. (Bloomberg)
  4. Despite giving back its gains from Monday, Z continued to receive bullish brokerage attention.
  5. How one option bull rolled her bet up and out on Michael Kors Holdings Ltd (NYSE:KORS).
EARNINGS

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

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