"It's no big shock, but today has once again been all about Washington," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "This morning, shares sold off sharply after officials failed to come to an agreement on the debt ceiling and government shutdown. The poor price action didn't last long, though, as shares rallied after speculation that President Barack Obama and lawmakers from both sides were meeting at the White House." Although this meeting ended up being postponed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) finished solidly north of breakeven.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,301.26) faltered right out of the gate, touching an intraday low of 15,136.38 within the first five minutes of trading. By the close, however, the index was up 64.2 points, or 0.4%. The Dow's 22 advancers were led by Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) 2.2% gain, while Merck's (NYSE:MRK) 1.1% decline paced the eight laggards.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,710.14) followed a similar intraday path as its blue-chip brethren, finishing 6.9 points, or 0.4%, higher. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,815.27) added 23.4 points, or 0.6%.
Conversely, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.07) spiked at the start of the session, but pared its gains to close just 0.4 point, or 2.2%, above breakeven.
A Trader's Take:
"Despite the continued confusion coming from Washington, this market has remained incredibly resilient," Bell went on. "In fact, the Russell 2000 (RUT) touched a new all-time high, as small-caps continue to show strong leadership."
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