"It was a slow day, and the big selling we've been seeing over the past few sessions slowed," said Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Nevertheless, after some volatility during the final hour, the bears once again took charge, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) finished lower for a fourth day in a row. This is the third four-day losing streak this year, and the last losing streak was five days back in September. So, if history has taught us anything in 2013, the bulls are more than due to take charge soon." Meanwhile, investors digested the latest onslaught of economic reports, searching for answers as to when the Fed will start to scale back its asset-buying program.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,889.77) spent time on both sides of breakeven today, but finished the session 24.9 points, or 0.2%, lower -- marking a second consecutive close below 16,000. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) led the Dow's 12 advancers with a gain of 1.6%, while Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) paced the 18 laggards with a drop of 0.9%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,792.81) experienced similar price action, and shaved off 2.3 points, or 0.1%, by day's end. Conversely, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,038.00) "outperformed" its peers by adding 0.8 point, or 0.02%, for the session.
Meanwhile, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.70) tagged an intraday high of 15.71 around 1:30 p.m. ET, but pared its gains throughout the afternoon to close just 0.2 point, or 1%, higher.
A Trader's Take:
"Europe was down significantly, so it was nice to shake that off somewhat," Detrick continued. "The new home sales figures were very strong. I know, I know -- but what about tapering? Well, I'm all for better economic data and the start of tapering. I have no clue when it will be, but let's get this economy moving and take off the training wheels to see how it does."
3 Things to Know About Today's Market:
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
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