"The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) services data came out, and it was stronger than expected," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "This, of course, comes on the heels of Monday's ISM manufacturing data, which showed a huge slowdown last month. All of this only adds to the mystery over recent economic data. Is the weather really to blame for the sudden drop in most economic data? Well, Friday is the always-important jobs number from January, and maybe we'll get more of a clue then. But the reality is the weather probably has slowed things down ... we just don't know how much yet." Today's data sparked choppy trading in the major market indexes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) traded in a nearly 140-point range before settling close to the breakeven mark.
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Before closing with a decline of 5 points, or 0.03%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,440.23) swung in a range between 15,478.21 and 15,340.69 on the day. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components closed higher, led by The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), which rose by 1%. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) tumbled from first to worst, bringing up the rear with a 1.7% decline.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,751.64) spent nearly all of today's session south of breakeven. By the close, the index had shed 3.6 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,011.55) was the day's underperformer, losing 20 points, or 0.5%.
See-saw price action continued for the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 19.95), which gained 0.8 point, or 4.4%, to move back toward the 20 area.
A Trader's Take:
"The November lows near 1,740 held on the S&P 500 today, so this was one step in the right direction. Also, the ISM services data showed surprising strength when most of the other recent economic data has been weak," Detrick continued. "Still, bigger picture, you have to be encouraged by earnings season. It is quickly winding down and the estimates at the start were for about 6% growth year-over-year. Well, we are close to 8% currently, with a real shot at 9% growth. Sure, currently the emerging market drama has sidetracked everyone to a degree, but in the end, earnings drive the economy, and this is a bigger-picture positive."
5 Items on Our Radar Today:
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
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