"There is virtually zero volume, nothing is happening, and everyone is on vacation," sighed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Bryan Sapp. In thin trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved modestly lower, while the few investors still active expressed a hesitancy to buy ahead of the fiscal-cliff deadline one week from today. "There was also no big news over the weekend to make anything move," Sapp concluded.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was sluggish throughout the day, spending the entire session wallowing below breakeven. By the closing bell, the blue-chip index showed a loss of 52 points, or 0.4%, and remained below its 10-day moving average. Four of the 30 Dow names enjoyed some positive momentum, however, with Alcoa (NYSE:AA) leading the bullish quartet with a gain of 0.6%. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) was at the back of the pack, down 2.3% on the day, and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) ended flat.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) drifted lower as well, giving back 3.5 points, or 0.2%, making a close solidly south of its respective 10-day moving average. The Nasdaq Composite lost 8.4 points, or 0.3%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX), meanwhile, ended the day flat despite an intraday push higher.
3 Things to Know About Today's Market:
Plus ... Robert Downey Jr. has come a long way from his troubled times. In fact -- according to Forbes -- he has cruised all the way to the top of the box-office-receipts game. Also near the top of this year's list for top-grossing performers were the trio of stars from the Twilight saga, Christian Bale, and Daniel Craig.
Today's Top Tweet:
"I'm not wrong, the market is."
@ReformedBroker, 7:11 a.m.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:
Question of the Day:
Q: What is the 'Santa-Claus Rally'?
A: This is a colloquial term related to the seasonal performance of stocks between Christmas and New Year's Day. Historically speaking (over the last 100 years), the Dow has been positive 68% of the time during Christmas week, with an average return of 0.67%. There are several theories behind this phenomenon, some of which include investors making portfolio changes ahead of the year-end tax deadline, or using Christmas bonus money to bolster their holdings.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
Why OIH Is Finding Key Support at $52
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