"We once again had a day full of intraday volatility capped off with underperformance by small-caps and technology stocks," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) notched a loss of nearly 99 points. "It's almost becoming a repeat every day, as strength is met with selling pressure and buyers come to the table to buy the dips. Once the dust settles, there hasn't been a ton of net movement for the Dow and S&P 500 Index (SPX) -- but under the surface, there was some real weakness."
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,268.99) gave up intraday support at 16,300 in the final half-hour of trading, eventually tumbling to a loss of 98.9 points, or 0.6%. Only four of the Dow's 30 components closed higher, led by a 1.5% gain for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK). Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) paced the 26 decliners with a 1.4% deficit.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,852.56) was also smacked by the eleventh-hour sell-off, ending on a drop of 13.1 points, or 0.7%. However, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,173.58) fared even worse. By the time the closing bell sounded, the tech-heavy index was off 60.7 points, or 1.4%.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.93) jolted higher as stocks stumbled. After a wobbly start to the session, the VIX wrapped up the day on a gain of 0.9 point, or 6.5%.
A Trader's Take:
"Durable goods orders improved in February after falling in January," noted Bell. "That was a nice upside surprise, but market participants will continue to monitor economic reports to see whether the improvement in weather will lead to a pick-up in economic activity. These reports are very important as investors continue to look for indications on just how soon the Fed might raise rates."
5 Items on Our Radar Today:
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
The Case for Big Moves in IWM and QQQ
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