Stocks quoted in this article:

"We really didn't digest any major economic data today, but there were a lot of participants rushing for the exits, and it seemed like simple profit taking," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Elsewhere, there was some big news from Washington, as congressional leaders agreed on a two-year budget plan that now needs approval from the House of Representatives and Senate." Meanwhile, as renewed tapering anxieties remained intact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) extended yesterday's losses.

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

plus...
    The White House may have a vice chair nominee for the Fed, MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) announced its first-ever stock split, and Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) received a vote of confidence from the brokerage bunch.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,843.53) spent most of the day in negative territory, and was off 129.6 points, or 0.8%, by the closing bell. The blue-chip bellwether's five advancers were led by Visa Inc's (NYSE:V) 3.1% gain, while a 3% drop for Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) paced the 25 decliners.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,782.22) was also parked in negative territory today, and finished 20.4 points, or 1.1%, lower. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,003.81) fell 56.7 points, or 1.4%, for the session.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.42) tagged an intraday peak of 15.43 just ahead of the close, and added 1.5 points, or 10.9%, on the day.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"Tech stocks actually performed pretty well today, but one notable bright spot was MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA), thanks to its slew of good news this morning," Bell continued. "The company announced a stock split, increased its quarterly dividend, and announced a repurchase plan."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • Congressional lawmakers reached a two-year bipartisan budget deal last night that could help stabilize the government and avoid another shutdown in January, but the proposal has already been met with some opposition. However, Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington), chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee, noted that "because of this deal, the budget process can now stop lurching from crisis to crisis." The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the proposal this week. (Los Angeles Times)
  • According to inside sources, the White House is close to nominating Stanley Fischer as vice chairman of the Fed. The former Bank of Israel Governor also served as a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and counts Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi among his students. (Bloomberg)
  • MasterCard Inc (NYSE:MA) hit a record high during today's session, following news that the credit card giant is splitting its stock for the first time since its initial public offering in May 2006. In addition to the 10-for-1 split, the company also lifted its quarterly dividend by 83%. (Associated Press via USA Today)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Outperforming Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) scored a bullish brokerage note at Wells Fargo ahead of this morning's opening bell.
  2. Bullish bettors rolled the dice on Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), despite some negative analyst attention in pre-market action.
  3. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) attracted near-term call players, amid hopes that the automaker will report strong December sales.
  4. Option bears targeted Ciena Corporation (NASDAQ:CIEN) to wager on a post-earnings slide for the networking equipment provider.
  5. J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP) speculators bet on a short-term ceiling for the struggling retailer by selling to open weekly call options.
EARNINGS

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

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