Stocks Kick Off 2014 on a Sour Note

Gold futures advance following sharp yearly decline

by 1/2/2014 4:18:22 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"There was weakness overnight in Europe, and domestic futures indicated lower prices at the open," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Despite a lack of major economic news, the markets slid, and had one of their biggest down days in weeks." Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) suffered a triple-digit loss.

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

    Weekly jobless claims fell to a four-week low, the ISM's manufacturing gauge exceeded expectations, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was hit with some negative brokerage attention.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,441.35) faltered at the sound of the opening bell, and ended up closing 135.3 points, or 0.8%, lower on the day. The Dow's three advancers were led by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) -- which gained 0.3% -- while Du Pont (NYSE:DD) and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) led the 27 decliners with losses of 1.9% each.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,831.98) also headed south right out of the gate, and ended the session with a loss of 16.4 points, or 0.9%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,143.07) was off 33.5 points, or 0.8%, by the closing bell.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.23) was parked in the black for the entire day, and finished 0.5 point, or 3.7%, higher.



A Trader's Take:

"Despite a ton of weakness across the board, many solar stocks had a really nice day," Bell observed. "These names were among 2013's big leaders, and it was nice to see some of the momentum continue during such a weak session."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, marking their lowest level in a month. However, the four-week moving average for first-time filings climbed by 8,500 to 357,000. (MarketWatch)
  2. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index arrived at 57.0 in December -- slightly down from November's reading of 57.3. Nevertheless, the latest reading still exceeded consensus estimates. (NASDAQ)
  3. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was slapped with a bearish brokerage note at Wells Fargo ahead of the opening bell.
  4. Short-term option bulls -- or possibly hedging short sellers -- pounced on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD).
  5. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) saw a surge in bearish options activity, as traders scooped up the stock's weekly puts.

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

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