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New Russian Turmoil Sends Dow Jones Industrial Average Reeling

The DJI quickly reversed from its new record high, shedding 161 points by the close

by 7/17/2014 4:22:39 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) managed to find its way to a new all-time high for the fourth day in a row, but stocks got off to a generally shaky start this morning. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) outperformed once again, as traders applauded the tech giant's plan to slash 18,000 jobs -- but fresh sanctions against Russia, followed by reports of a downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet in Ukraine, kept geopolitical concerns at the forefront. The major equity indexes deepened their losses in the final hour of trading, and the Dow ended the day on a triple-digit decline.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Get Started with Options: Check your motives. Never buy an option just because it's "cheap" -- because the higher risk of a 100% loss isn't always such a great bargain.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,976.81) fell back below the 17,000 mark today, shedding 161.4 points, or 0.9% -- its biggest one-day drop in two months. Earlier in the session, the Dow peaked at a record best of 17,151.56. Only three Dow members closed higher, with a 1.6% post-earnings jump for UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) leading the way. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) paced the 27 decliners, giving back 2.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,958.12) swallowed a drop of 23.5 points, or 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,363.45) shed 62.5 points, or 1.4%. Both the SPX and COMP have now erased all of their gains for the week.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.54) took off in afternoon trading, ending the day on a massive leap of 3.5 points, or 32.2%. Today's jump was the biggest one-day VIX move since April 2013.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Less than a day after leaders from the U.S. and the European Union announced expanded sanctions against Russia, a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine. Reports indicated the commercial jet, carrying 295 passengers and crew, may have been shot down by pro-Russia separatists in the region. In a press conference, President Obama vowed that the U.S. "will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why." (CNN; L.A. Times)
  2. In a speech, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard warned that policymakers might need to raise interest rates "sooner rather than later" if the economy continues to rebound. Specifically, Bullard pointed to "stronger-than-expected data, rising inflation and rapidly improving labor markets" as three key factors that could force the Fed's hand. (The Wall Street Journal)
  3. Call sellers expect Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) to remain stuck below looming technical resistance.
  4. A bold call player bet on Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) to break out to multi-year highs.
  5. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd (USA) (NYSE:AEM) rallied in step with gold futures -- and a bullish brokerage note didn't hurt, either.
EARNINGS

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

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