U.S. stocks spent nearly all of the session swimming in the red today, thanks to amplified fears about the fiscal health of Europe. The bears took the reins right out of the gate, as concerns about contagion bolstered the government bond yields of Italy, Spain, and even AAA-rated France. In late-session trading, Fitch Ratings added fuel to the bearish fire, after the agency cautioned that the credit outlook for U.S. banks could worsen if the euro-zone debt dilemma isn't solved sooner rather than later. The warning put the final nail in the bulls' proverbial coffin, negating a round of relatively tame inflation data, and sending stocks reeling into the closing bell.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 11,905.59) ended near a session low, surrendering 190.6 points, or 1.6%, by the close. As a result, the Dow gave up its perch atop the 12,000 level, and ended south of both its 10-day and 20-day moving averages for just the second time since early October. In fact, not one of the index's 30 blue chips eked out a win, with 3M Company (MMM) faring the best by breaking even, and Alcoa (AA), Bank of America (BAC), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) faring the worst with losses of 3.8% apiece.
Likewise, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,236.91) finished near an intraday nadir, backpedaling 20.9 points, or 1.7%, to end beneath its own 10-day and 20-day trendlines. In similar fashion, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,639.61) also ended near a session low, swallowing a loss of 46.6 points, or 1.7%.
Turning to equities in focus, Bob Evans Farms (BOBE) unveiled lackluster quarterly earnings ... Citigroup (C) is reportedly set to cut up to 3,000 jobs ... Fairchild Semiconductor (FCS) scored a price-target boost ... Analysts weighed in on Dell (DELL) and Agilent Technologies (A) after earnings ... Oppenheimer waxed optimistic on uptrending Ulta (ULTA) ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from Eric Jennings, men's fashion director at Saks (SKS). Total U.S. men's apparel sales rose 6.5% in the year through September, according to the NPD Group, thanks to notable surges in sales of tailored clothing, ties, and neckwear. Even more interesting, Jennings says, the male movement to sartorial dressing spans all generations:
"I even see my nephew in elementary school asking me, 'How do I fold this pocket square?'"
But these weren't the only headlines hitting the Street today. Click on the links below for our blog coverage of:
And, in case you missed it, Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner discussed when options underestimate post-earnings price swings. Click here for the latest installment of our Outside the Box blog.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
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