Market Recap

Market Edges South for the Week as Fiscal Cliff Impasse Drags On

SPX breaches 10-day moving average while DJIA holds above

by 12/14/2012 4:06:57 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"The market struggled below breakeven for most of the day and ended the session slightly in the red," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. Despite a few fleeting trips into positive territory, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed with a modest loss and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) breached short-term trendline support.

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

  • How China helped commodities today, a brief look at five notable stocks, and our Tweet of the day -- a good peek into the mindset of a trader.

The bulls put up a worthy fight, actually pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) into positive territory for a few short-lived excursions. Ultimately, however, the index settled with a loss of 35 points, or 0.3%. Of the 30 Dow stocks, 19 were in the red, with American Express (NYSE:AXP) faring the worst with a 1.9% drop. Alcoa (NYSE:AA), meanwhile, led the advancers with a gain of 1.8%, while General Electric (NYSE:GE) was unchanged. For the week, the Dow slumped 0.2%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) lost ground as well, giving back six points, or 0.4%, on the day to fall south of its 10-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) brought up the rear once again, shedding 21 points, or 0.7%. The SPX lost 0.3% for the week, while the COMP surrendered 0.2%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) sprinted right up to the 17 mark today, gaining 0.4 point, or 2.7%. On a weekly basis, the index surged 7%.



A Trader's Take:

"This morning, there was better-than-expected economic data out of China, but this news from overseas failed to bolster most U.S. equities," Bell observed. "Elsewhere, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was dragging down the technology sector, as the stock's bounce off the $520 level was certainly short-lived." Bell also noted, "The [SPX] remained above 1,410, which has been previous support (and resistance) in the past. But overall, there really wasn't a whole lot to celebrate today, and the market was quite bland. As we near the holiday season," he continued, "the pending fiscal cliff remains on most investors' minds and will certainly grab more and more headlines with each passing day."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • The consumer price index (CPI) fell 0.3% last month, reported the Labor Department, as gasoline prices absorbed a rare plunge of 7.4%. The core CPI -- which excludes volatile food and energy costs -- edged up 0.1%, slightly below the expected rise of 0.2%. Elsewhere, industrial production accelerated 1.1% in November, according to the Federal Reserve, in part due to a Superstorm Sandy-related skew. Economists were looking for production to rise just 0.2%.
  • Commodities benefited from positive news out of China, as the nation's purchasing managers' index (PMI) edged up to 50.9 in December, hitting a 14-month high. Readings above 50 are indicative of expansion in the manufacturing sector. Earlier this week, Chinese officials reported a 14.9% increase in retail sales for November, which also hinted at improving conditions for the world's second-largest economy.
  • General Electric (NYSE:GE) is boosting its quarterly dividend by 12% beginning in January, to 19 cents per share. The company is continuing to slowly rebuild from the dark days of early 2009, when GE's dividend was cut to 10 cents from 31 cents. The venerable conglomerate also said it will buy back another $10 billion in shares.

Plus ... Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) could be on the hook for $29 million in free drink credits. Plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit against the airline more than two years ago, arguing the carrier owed recompense for drink vouchers that expired on Aug. 1, 2010, following a shift in policy for Business Select fliers. The newly settled lawsuit estimates 5.8 million eligible vouchers (worth $5 each, hence $29 million) were not redeemed. In order to collect replacement vouchers (which will expire after one year), class members need only complete a form indicating the estimated number of unused vouchers they had.

Today's Top Tweet:

"Often my best trades are the ones I don't want to make ;-)"
@biggercapital, 9:08 a.m.

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Spurred by concerns over iPhone production rates, UBS cut its price target on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) by more than 10%.
  2. Call buyers bet on short-term upside in Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) shares.
  3. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) options bears think the stock has ample downside ahead over the next few months.
  4. Bullish speculation continued in Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), as the stock presses above previous resistance.
  5. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) could be a winning trade idea for bullish contrarians.

Question of the Day:

Q: Where can I find out if weekly or quarterly options are offered on a particular security?
A: The list of available weekly and quarterly options is constantly changing, and is updated by the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The list of available weeklies (for indexes, ETFs, and stocks) is here; the list of available quarterlies is here.

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

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