Stocks Plunge Sharply; Nasdaq Composite Loses Over 3%

VIX spikes 15% and nears the 16 level

by 4/10/2014 4:25:00 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"After a relatively low-volume rally yesterday, we once again resumed the trend that we've been experiencing under the surface the past couple of weeks," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Technology and small-caps broke below their weekly lows and carried the S&P 500 Index (SPX) below the 1,840 area, which had served as support since the beginning of March." Against this backdrop -- and with nearly all of its components in the red -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) suffered a triple-digit decline, widening its year-to-date deficit.

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

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,170.22) experienced a few early morning blips in positive territory, but the selling began in earnest around midday. By the time the closing bell sounded, the blue-chip index had surrendered 267 points, or 1.6%. Twenty-eight of the Dow's 30 components finished in the red, paced by American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), which dropped 3.8%. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) were the two advancers, respectively gaining 1.1% and 0.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,833.08) violated technical support and closed with a loss of 39.1 points, or 2.1%. The index closed at its lowest point since Feb. 19 and is now back in negative territory for 2014. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,054.11) was the worst for wear, losing 130 points, or 3.1%, and posting its largest single-day drop since November 2011.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.89) spiked 15%, or 2.1 points, higher on the day, and topped the 16 level in intraday trading. The "fear barometer" hasn't settled north of the 16 level since March 14.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"There wasn't too much to like about today's market," sighed Bell. "With biotechnology and solar stocks leading the way down, there were very few names that finished above breakeven. It was a sea of red, and the typical culprits lagged once again."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Initial jobless claims dipped by a steeper-than-expected 32,000 during the week ended April 5, hitting a seasonally adjusted level of 300,000. This was the lowest reading since May 2007. (Reuters)
  2. Import prices in the U.S. increased by a wider-than-forecast 0.6% last month, largely due to a jump in food and fuel costs. Excluding these volatile variables, import prices ticked 0.2% higher. Export prices expanded by 0.8%, the widest margin in six months. (FOX Business)
  3. As Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) took a tumble, short-term bears descended on the electric vehicle maker's options pits.
  4. Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) option players are targeting the $4 level -- a threshold not toppled since last October.
  5. Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) fell in sympathy with a sector peer today, but options players maintained a positive outlook.
EARNINGS

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

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