"After disappointing Empire State manufacturing data, the market finished in the red," said Schaeffer's Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. "Obviously, the big news last week was QE3 and the market's strong positive reaction. After such a strong run up, it makes a lot of sense for a little breather today." Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) drifted to its first loss in the past five sessions, the index secured its third consecutive close atop the 13,500 level.
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,553.10) was off nearly 67 points at its intraday low of 13,526.67. But by the time the closing bell sounded, the Dow had pared some of its deficit, giving up 40.3 points, or 0.3%. Nineteen of the 30 blue chips finished with losses, as Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) paced the underperformers with 2.6% declines each. On the other hand, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) led the winning issues with a 0.9% gains. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) parked at breakeven.
After reaching a roughly five-year peak on Friday, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,461.19) headed south today, retreating 4.6 points, or 0.3%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,178.67) faced a similar fate, dropping 5.3 points, or 0.2%, from its decade-plus high perch.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 14.59) turned higher by a tenth of a point, or 0.6%, settling atop the 14.50 mark for a second straight session.
Today's highlight: "Beneath today's small sell-off, we saw more mergers and acquisitions activity," noted Bell. "Medical equipment supplier, IRIS International, Inc. (NASDAQ:IRIS) was up huge after being acquired by Danaher Corporation (NYSE:DHR). In recent months, we have seen a pickup in this type of activity, which is a good sign for the strength of the market."
Turning to today's major market stories...
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
Mid-Caps Nearing a Triple of March 2009 Lows
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