After an up-and-down session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) crossed the finish line with a slim victory, but parked below its 200-day trendline for a third consecutive day. "House Republican Leader John Boehner and President Obama took to the airwaves today in separate speeches about the 'fiscal cliff,'" said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "It is clear both sides are divided and trying to sell their ideas to the public. Unfortunately, the public won't decide this issue and they need to start talking to each other. The uncertainty surrounding the 'fiscal cliff' is giving most investors pause right now. We had a see-saw battle throughout the day, and in the end, neither bulls nor bears really took control."
Selling momentum abated on Friday, as stocks hovered above the breakeven mark for the majority of the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed with a gain of mere points, but the damage was done for the week. The blue-chip index settled south of its 40-week moving average for the first time since June 1 and shed more than 2.1% over the course of the rocky five sessions.
Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) spent the day flirting with its 200-day moving average, which was breached on Thursday for the first time in five months. The index closed up 0.2% to end the day just below this trendline, and lost 2.4% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was the day's outperformer, gaining 0.3% by the session's close. The tech-heavy index brought up the rear for the week, however, retreating 2.6%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) moved modestly higher amid continued trepidation among investors. While staying south of the $19 level, the VIX added close to 0.7% on the day and finished the week 5.8% higher.
Today's highlight: "The best thing about today's market is that it didn't go down," noted Bell. "After the strong sell off during the past two days, most investors welcomed the flat day as a nice break from sharp declines. Whenever a market is surging lower like it has been, traders are simply looking for the momentum to slow down a bit and today was a nice first step."
More of today's big stories:
And, in case you missed it ... Senior VP of Research Todd Salamone highlights short-term buying opportunities for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
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