Techs Bounce Back, but Dow Closes Modestly Lower

VIX hits another multi-year low while SPX fails to tag a new high

by 1/16/2013 4:21:14 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"Seriously, the market is very boring here," sighed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was again confined to a relatively tight range of fewer than 70 points, and closed with a modest loss. Meanwhile, the tech sector rebounded from yesterday's down day to settle slightly higher. "Days like this remind me of the old Wall Street adage 'Never short a dull market,'" Detrick said. "The past four days have been about as dull as possible, so keep that in mind here."

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

  • Why "new yearly highs" are likely this week, according to Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp.
  • Option activity heated up on two major bank names ahead of earnings.
  • How Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) option traders opted to bet on tomorrow's earnings report.
plus...
  • The Fed's latest economic outlook, more bad news for Yelp (NYSE:YELP), and a moment of Zen in our Tweet of the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gave back nearly all of yesterday's gains, ending the session with a loss of 24 points, or 0.2%, but holding atop its 10-day moving average. Still, 13 of the 30 Dow components were in positive territory by the close, paced by Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) -- which had brought up the rear on Tuesday but closed 4.1% higher today. Boeing (NYSE:BA), meanwhile, came in last place with a 3.4% drop, thanks to continued issues with the Dreamliner aircraft.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) was little changed, eking out a 0.3-point gain. The index's annual high once again proved insurmountable in intraday trading. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was the bright spot among its index peers, adding 7 points, or 0.2%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) lost steam throughout the morning after starting out in positive territory. After touching a new multi-year low of 13.20 around midday, the index closed with a loss of 0.1 point, or 1%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"There is a running joke that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the new 'inverse ETF,' and sure enough, AAPL had a nice up day today, while the Dow was in the red," Detrick quipped. "This came on the heels of a nice rally in the Dow, when AAPL was falling just about every day. Meanwhile, I've heard lots of talk lately," he continued, "about how sentiment is getting overly bullish. While there are definitely some pockets of optimism out there, it's hard to argue with the overall price action."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • The Federal Reserve's Beige Book report revealed modest-to-moderate expansion in economic activity across all 12 districts in recent weeks. This bump was, in part, attributed to a rise in consumer spending. The report's overall language was cautiously optimistic, noting that "Hiring plans were more cautious," especially for companies with exposure to Europe or the defense industry.
  • The Labor Department said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) held steady in December, matching economists' projections. The core figure -- which excludes food and fuel costs -- edged 0.1% higher, shy of the broadly estimated 0.2% advance. Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) housing market index was also inert, holding at 47 in January. Finally, industrial production rose by 0.3% to a multi-year peak in December, according to the Federal Reserve, as automobile production ramped higher. This reading was also in line with economists' expectations.
  • Following an impressive turn in the earnings confessional ahead of the open, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) pegged a new annual high. In separate news, the nation's largest bank slashed CEO Jamie Dimon's bonus payment this year. Mr. Dimon's check will be for $10 million -- down from $21.5 million in 2011 -- as remuneration for the $6.2 billion trading loss last year, for which he is ultimately accountable. The company's board cited today's strong earnings as one reason a bonus was distributed at all.

Plus ... gear-heads are headed to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Saturday. Among the highly anticipated wheeled offerings are the first new Corvette in almost a decade, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee that will be the only American-made S.U.V. with a diesel engine.

Today's Top Tweet:

"no guru, no matter how gifted, stays perfect too long. as fame attracts the flock, his views spur convention & the arb vanishes like söze $$"
@ppearlman, (Phil Pearlman), 11:24 a.m.

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Short-term bearish traders descended on Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM).
  2. Yelp (NYSE:YELP) was hit with a brokerage downgrade ahead of the opening bell.
  3. Meanwhile, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) enjoyed multiple price-target hikes following yesterday's announcement of a new search tool.
  4. LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) shareholders could be buying puts to protect their recent gains.
  5. E*Trade Financial (NASDASQ:ETFC) bulls bet on a move into double-digit territory.
EARNINGS

Question of the Day:

Q: I've heard some traders refer to delta as the "hedge ratio." What does this mean?
A: Since an option's delta is thought to roughly correspond with its chances of expiring in the money, traders use delta as a guideline for hedging their positions. Let's say you write a call option with a delta of 0.50, or a 50% chance of finishing in the money (in theory). Using this as your "hedge ratio," you might choose to hedge only half of your potential loss by purchasing 50 shares of the underlying stock. If your option's delta rises to 0.70, you could build your hedge to 70 shares -- and so on.

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

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