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Dow Jones Industrial Average Slips; M&A Activity Heats Up

Disappointing housing data from China pressured most Asian bourses

by 5/19/2014 8:15:09 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is lingering modestly below the flat line this morning, with futures on the blue-chip barometer off about 21 points at last check. As Schaeffer's Senior Options Strategist Tony Venosa, CMT, notes, "This coming week is light on economic and earnings reports as we enter a new five-week expiration cycle for June options. Expectations could be for more of the same, as we continue to chop around -- aggravating both bulls and bears alike."

In today's session, traders will have the chance to digest M&A updates from a pair of blue chips that were announced over the weekend. Specifically, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) agreed to buy DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) in a cash-and-stock deal worth roughly $67.1 billion. Elsewhere, AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN) rejected Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE:PFE) $118 billion bid. Meanwhile, an early afternoon speech from Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher could also garner some attention from investors.

Plus, our Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Get Started with Options: Study the lingo. Even if you have a strong background in stock trading, you need to learn options-specific phrases such as sell to open, delta, time decay -- and many more.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) are 21 points below breakeven.

Market Statistics

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1,149,404 call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 783,528 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio dipped to 0.68, while the 21-day moving average rose to 0.64.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

From the Trading Floor

"Friday's price action was subdued for the better part of the day, but by late afternoon, buyers stepped in and drove indexes higher," said Venosa. "Retail and semiconductor stocks led the charge, while solar and gold miner names severely lagged."

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is down 0.1% ahead of the bell to trade at 79.97.
  • Elsewhere, crude oil is positioned to continue its recent run higher, with the commodity up 0.7% at $102.26 per barrel.
  • Gold futures, meanwhile, are signaling a move back above the $1,300 mark. At last check, the malleable metal had tacked on 0.7% in pre-market trading to linger near $1,302.20 an ounce.
Currencies and commodities

Earnings and Economic Data

There are no significant economic reports scheduled for today. Entering the earnings confessional are Campbell Soup (CPB) and Urban Outfitters (URBN).

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