"This morning, overseas weakness out of Europe put a damper on U.S. equities," remarked Schaeffer's Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. "Utilities and consumer staples were strong, though, as investors sought defensive stocks. Shares of homebuilders started off strong thanks to Lennar Corporation's (NYSE:LEN) earnings report, but quickly reversed and showed relative weakness throughout the day." In fact, except for a stint in positive territory in the last 90 minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) wallowed in red ink for most of the session.
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
Near the end of the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,558.92) battled to maintain its last-minute rally, but to no avail. By the time the closing bell sounded, the Dow backpedaled 20.6 points, or roughly 0.2%, paring most of its 57.8-point intraday deficit. Eleven out of the 30 blue chips climbed higher, with Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE:PFE) 1% rise leading the way. Conversely, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) paced the 18 underperforming issues with a 2.2% drop. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) remained unchanged.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,456.89) was positive for only a few brief moments this afternoon, but ultimately ended the trading day with a 3.3-point, or 0.2%, loss. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,160.78) fared the worst of its fellow benchmarks, retreating 19.2 points, or 0.6%, to mark its heftiest drop in two weeks.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 14.15) shot to the 15.06 mark this morning -- its highest price since Sept. 13 -- but gave back most of this lead by the close, turning in a 1.2% increase.
Today's highlight: "Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5 weekend sales results were tallied and came in much worse than expected," noted Bell. "Sales of just over 5 million were below estimates, but not due to lack of demand. It seems AAPL did not meet the demand with enough supply, creating a lot more waiting time for those coveting the next hot item."
Turning to today's major market stories...
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
Mid-Caps Nearing a Triple of March 2009 Lows
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