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Dow Jones Industrial Average Treads Lightly; Levels to Watch on the S&P 500

The Bank of Japan stood pat on its monetary stimulus program

by 3/11/2014 8:14:11 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is poised to extend yesterday's modest losses, with futures pointed slightly lower ahead of the bell. Although the earnings calendar is light, traders will turn to a pair of economic reports -- JOLTS job openings and wholesale inventories -- for direction. Both sets of data points are due out at 10 a.m. ET.

On the charts, as Schaeffer's Senior Trading Analyst Bryan Sapp reminds us, "The S&P 500 Index (SPX) continues to battle with the 1,880 level, and 1,900 overhead. Below, I would look for 1,850 to be the first area of support. Additionally, I'm watching the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) as it made a huge move higher last Tuesday. The RUT continues to gyrate around 1,200. A clear move back above there would be a sign that risk has returned. Below, 1,180 is the first area of support."

Plus, our Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Interpret Short Interest: Weigh the short interest ratio. This handy little indicator tells you approximately how much future buying power is pent up among the short-selling crowd.

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 sitting less than 1 point below breakeven.

Market Statistics

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 973,428 call contracts traded on Monday -- the fewest since Dec. 26 -- compared to 650,435 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio jumped to 0.67, while the 21-day moving average stayed at 0.57.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

From the Trading Floor

"Despite last week's rally and the better-than-expected jobs data on Friday, there still seems to be a good deal of skepticism in the market," continued Sapp. "The National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) survey from last Thursday actually showed a decrease in fund-manager exposure from the prior week. Additionally, there remains a solid flow in CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) call options, which are fear-based bets. As a contrarian, this can be construed as having bullish implications."

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is flirting with a 0.2% lead ahead of the bell, with the currency last seen at 79.89.
  • Elsewhere, crude oil is up a slight 0.1% in pre-market trading, with crude for April delivery lingering near $101.21 per barrel.
  • Gold futures, meanwhile, are looking to extend yesterday's gains, with the front-month contract 0.6% higher at $1,349.60 an ounce.
Currencies and commodities

Earnings and Economic Data

JOLTS job openings and wholesale inventories data are both slated to hit the Street today. American Eagle (AEO), Caesars Entertainment (CZR), Diamond Foods (DMND), Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS), Quicksilver Resources (KWK), and VeriFone Systems (PAY) will step up to the earnings plate.

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