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A Choppy Trading Day Resolves to the Downside

Investors take modest profits amid consumer confidence news

by 2/25/2014 4:24:29 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"Similar to yesterday, the market ran out of steam late in the day," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "The bottom line is that the 1,850 area on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) won't go down without a fight, and some type of consolidation makes sense here. Not to mention, the last week of February is historically a little weak." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent time on both sides of breakeven today and ultimately closed with a slight loss. "Bigger picture, this type of stalling near a previous major peak isn't a shock," continued Detrick. "But remember, for the past 20 years, March and April are the two strongest months, so new highs into spring are very likely."

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

Plus ... A slip in consumer confidence, a setback for Bitcoin, and a long-term bullish bet in Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,179.66) traded in a range of 16,147.25 to 16,254.26, before settling with a loss of 27.5 points, or 0.2%. Ten of the Dow's 30 stocks advanced, led by The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD), which popped 4% higher after earnings. The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) paced the 18 laggards with a 2.2% loss; Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) were unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,845.12) failed to notch another new intraday record, and closed with a loss of 2.5 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,287.59) slipped 5.4 points on the day, losing 0.1% as well.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.67) moved lower despite the selling pressure in the major market indexes. By the close, the "fear gauge" had surrendered 0.6 point, or 3.9%.



A Trader's Take:

"Housing was a quiet leader today," Detrick noted. "Last week, we had a few disappointing economic reports on the housing front, yet the stocks held up very well. Now today, many broke out to new multi-month highs. Housing is one area we are bullish on here at Schaeffer's, and the fact that the stocks have continued to lead in the face of poor economic data is probably a good sign. It shows that much of the bad news is priced in already, and any good news could lead to strong buying pressure."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Conference Board noted that its index measuring consumer confidence slipped to 78.1 in February from a downwardly revised 79.4 the previous month. Economists were targeting a reading of 80.0. Elsewhere, home prices across the country -- as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller index -- dipped 0.1% in December from the previous month, but posted a year-over-year increase of 11.3%. (CNBC; Forbes)
  2. Mt. Gox -- the largest online trading marketplace for the Bitcoin currency -- effectively vanished from existence late yesterday. The website went blank, the Twitter account was wiped clean, and the CEO departed from the Bitcoin Foundation's board of directors. The immediate future of the digital currency, which dipped to a three-month low in response, has now been called into question. (CNNMoney)
  3. Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) has fourth-quarter results scheduled for tomorrow morning, and the retailer's recent earnings history isn't pretty.
  4. A spread strategist placed a hefty cautiously bullish bet on Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI), with eyes on the stock's long-term future.
  5. Despite a recent move to multi-year highs, Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV) was initiated with a lackluster "hold" rating at Stifel today.

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

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