Dow Takes 129-Point Step Back From Previous High

Sluggish European markets and U.S. factory orders pull down all major indices

by 2/4/2013 4:20:46 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

So much for the rally to 14,000 -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) took a major step back today, falling nearly a full percentage point after eclipsing 14,000 for the first time in five years to end last week on a major upswing. The red was all over the board, as only one company in the Dow gained on the day. Disappointing factory order numbers, down markets overseas, and perhaps a Super Bowl hangover all helped get things started off on a downward trend -- and the market never recovered. It was the first 100-point daily drop in more than a month.

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

  • There was a surprise winner in today's market downturn, according to Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp.
  • How short-term bullish option traders zeroed in on online game maker Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) ahead of earnings.
  • Ford Motor (F), Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw notable attention among option traders today.
plus...
  • The Dow takes a big jump back, factory numbers disappoint, and options traders react to Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), which had been one of the few positive notes on the Dow up until the final minutes of trading.

Spooked by fears in European markets and slower-than-expected growth for factory orders, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) took a fall from its giddy highs reached at the end of last week. The Dow finished at 13,880.08, losing nearly 130 points, or about 0.9%. Only The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) advanced, gaining 0.5%. The Travelers Companies (NYSE:TRV) had the biggest fall out of the 29 decliners, losing nearly 2.4%. It was the first time since Dec. 28 of last year that the Dow dropped more than 100 points.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also declined, shedding more than 17 points, or 1.2%, to close at 1,495.71. The index also closed below 1,500 for only the second time in the last seven trading sessions. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell nearly 48 points (1.5%) to finish at 3,131.17.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) rose on all the uncertainty, shooting back above 14 to close at 14.67, up 13.7%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • The U.S. Commerce Department reported that factory orders rose by a seasonally adjusted 1.8% in December. Economists had predicted a rise of 2.2% in the month. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Japan Airlines said it would seek compensation for the nearly $8 million and counting that it has lost due to the ongoing grounding of the Dreamliner 787 manufactured by The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA). Other carriers, including Japan's All Nippon Airways, also have made similar announcements. (Chicago Tribune)

  • The U.S. Justice Department said it will sue ratings company Standard & Poor's (S&P) over what it deems faulty ratings of mortgage bonds ahead of the 2008 financial meltdown. The suit might seek as much as $1 billion in recompense, according to sources. (The New York Times)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) received an analyst downgrade and then a ton of attention from put traders looking to cash in on the pessimistic news.

  2. Outdoor apparel and boot maker Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK) saw a big jump in call trading.

  3. Option bears looked to cash in on today's pullback in manufacturing conglomerate General Electric Company (NYSE:GE).

  4. Strong earnings and technical tailwinds drew longer-term call traders to newspaper giant Gannett Co. (NYSE:GCI).

  5. IT equipment maker Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) was targeted by call traders today, who looked to cash in on the stock's short-term trend.
EARNINGS

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

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