"We are starting to receive fourth-quarter earnings reports, although most consider Alcoa Inc's (NYSE:AA) report on Thursday to be the unofficial start of the earnings season," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The ADP employment report was released, and the jobs number solidly beat most expectations. Many participants viewed this improvement in the labor market as a sign that the Fed will be more likely to continue tapering its asset-buying program." As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) erased much of yesterday's gains.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,462.74) tumbled at the start of the session, and ended up finishing 68.2 points, or 0.4%, lower on the day. The blue-chip index's 10 advancers were led by Du Pont (NYSE:DD) -- which gained 1.3% -- while MSFT paced the 20 decliners with a loss of 1.8%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,837.49) experienced some choppy price action throughout the day, and was down just 0.4 point, or 0.02%, by the closing bell. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,165.61) outperformed its peers by tacking on 12.4 points, or 0.3%.
Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.87) was parked in positive territory for most of the day, but finished roughly 0.1 point, or 0.4%, lower.
A Trader's Take:
"Overall, the broad market was mixed, with technology taking on a leadership role, and the Dow clearly underperforming," Bell continued. "The minutes for the December Fed meeting were also released late in the day, but we didn't see any widespread response from the market either way."
5 Items on Our Radar Today:
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
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