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Dow Jones Industrial Average Drops Amid Growing Fear Over China, Ukraine

Crude oil moves south of the century mark, while copper continues to fall

by 3/12/2014 8:11:44 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is pointed south, as concerns about economic weakness in China and political unrest in Ukraine weigh on investor sentiment. Ahead of the March 16 vote over whether Crimea will join Russia, interim Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will meet today with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry in D.C.

Meanwhile, as Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp recapped, "Equity markets looked pretty broken yesterday, and the indexes appear to be masking some serious weakness under the surface. I'm watching 1,850 on the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and 1,180 on the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) as potential support."

Plus, our Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Interpret Short Interest: Review the recent trend. Have shorts been covering their bearish bets, or ramping them up?

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI) are more than 36 points below breakeven.

Market Statistics

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,190,112 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 691,972 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio dropped to 0.58, while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.57.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

From the Trading Floor

"Despite a pretty big move lower from yesterday's open, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) and associated volatility exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are seeing very muted moves higher," noted Sapp. "This could be a sign that portfolio protection has been bought over the past few weeks, when the VIX remained elevated, in spite of equities hitting fresh all-time highs."

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is up a slight 0.04% ahead of the bell to linger near 79.77.
  • Ahead of today's weekly inventories update, crude oil has slipped below the psychologically significant century mark. At last check, crude for April delivery was down 1.5% at $98.58 per barrel.
  • Elsewhere, gold futures are eyeing a third straight day of gains, with the front-month contract 0.8% higher at $1,358 an ounce.
  • Copper, meanwhile, is continuing its recent retreat on concerns over China's economic growth, with the commodity down 0.5% at $2.94 per pound.
Currencies and commodities

Earnings and Economic Data

The regularly scheduled crude inventories report and the U.S. Treasury budget for February will be released today. Plus, Express (EXPR), Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM) will report earnings.

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