"With earnings season winding down and the next Fed meeting five weeks away, traders pretty much took today off," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Nonetheless, there are still some big names set to report earnings this week, so be open to some individual stocks showing volatility." After spending time on both sides of breakeven, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) settled with a minor gain.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,639.12) traded in a relatively narrow 70-point range before settling on a gain of 23.6 points, or 0.2%. Twenty Dow components ended in the black, led by Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and its 2.5% gain. Among the 10 decliners, DuPont (NYSE:DD) led the way with a 1.3% loss. The blue-chip index has now finished four of the last five sessions above the 15,600 level.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,767.93) tacked on 6.3 points, or 0.4%, to extend a short-term rise along its 10-day moving average. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,936.59) added 14.6 points, or 0.4%, and settled less than 1 point from its intraday peak.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.93) turned south, shedding 0.4 point, or 2.6%. This marked the first close below 13 for the "fear index" since Aug. 13.
A Trader's Take:
"Small-caps lagged last week, but bounced back in a major way today," said Detrick. "With the Dow pretty much flat, the Russell 2000 Index (RUT - 1,108.28) was actually up more than 1%. We've seen small-cap strength all year, and don't expect it to end just yet. The recent dip could be yet another nice time to accumulate the strongest group this year. Also," Detrick added, "the action in steel is just eye-opening. Names like United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X) and AK Steel Holding Corporation (NYSE:AKS) had huge days, breaking out to new highs. Steel was a big-time laggard all year, but now we're seeing money rotate into this influential group."
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