"Congress was finally able to come to an agreement late yesterday, and the potential fallout from the debt ceiling was avoided at the last minute," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "While many view this as nothing more than just pushing back the decision, the markets now have a little bit of clarity for the time being. Today's market reaction was widely mixed, as we're really starting to get into earnings season." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was the session's laggard, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) claimed new technical milestones.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,371.65) tumbled to a session low of 15,229.02 at the sound of the opening bell, and despite narrowing its losses throughout the day, the index still finished 2.2 points lower. The Dow's 24 advancers were led by American Express (NYSE:AXP), which gained 5.1% on strong earnings, while International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) paced the six decliners, as its own quarterly report spurred a drop of 6.4%.
Although the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,733.15) fell at the start of the session, it muscled back into positive territory later in the day to tag a new all-time intraday high of 1,733.45. By the end, the index was up 11.6 points, or 0.7% -- notching a record closing peak, as well. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,863.15) finished with a gain of 23.7 points, or 0.6%, and touched another 13-year intraday high of 3,863.49.
Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.48) spent the day in the red, dropping to a session nadir of 12.89 during the first hour of trading. By the time the dust settled, the "fear barometer" was off 1.2 points, or 8.4% -- marking its lowest finish since Sept. 20.
A Trader's Take:
"The Washington drama might finally take a backseat to earnings," Bell went on. "With the third-quarter earnings season getting underway, it will be nice to have a little attention on company performance, rather than political debates and press conferences."
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