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The major market indexes stuck close to breakeven today, as Wall Street weighed the latest earnings and economic reports. On one hand, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) soared to record highs in the wake of a solid earnings showing, and first-time jobless claims fell to their lowest point in more than eight years. However, not all was rosy; QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) was among the day's earnings laggards, and the latest housing stats failed to impress. Against this backdrop, it was a photo finish, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) resolving to the downside, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) extending its quest for all-time highs.

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

  • How shareholders and analysts reacted to stellar earnings from FB.
  • Why Angie's List Inc (NASDAQ:ANGI) bears had to get creative in the wake of a dismal earnings report.
  • General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) isn't the only automaker in the hot seat, but these option players remain optimistic.
  • Plus ... Jobless claims drop sharply, new home sales stutter, and SodaStream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) and BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) jump on buyout buzz.
Trading Topic of the Week -- Tips for Buying Weekly Options: Focus on liquid names with narrow bid/ask spreads. There are two major benefits here -- ease of entry and exit, and lower risk of slippage.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,083.80) settled 2.8 points, or 0.02%, lower, despite 17 of its 30 components ending in the black. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) paced the advancing majority, tacking on 1.6%, while Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) led the 12 decliners with a 3.1% drop. McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) split the difference, finishing flat.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,987.98) eked out a fractional win, and touched a record peak of 1,991.39 in intraday action -- the SPX's third straight day exploring all-time highs. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,472.11) ended a wishy-washy session with a loss of 1.6 points, or 0.04%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.84) edged 0.3 point, or 2.8%, higher, but failed to reclaim its perch atop the 12 marker.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. First-time filings for unemployment benefits dropped to an eight-plus-year low last week, according to the Labor Department, besting economists' expectations. Specifically, weekly jobless claims fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 284,000, marking their lowest point since February 2006. (MarketWatch)
  2. Meanwhile, new home sales in the U.S. fell by more than expected in June, retreating 8.1% -- the sharpest drop since July 2013 -- to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 406,000. In addition, May's sales pace was downwardly revised by 62,000 to 442,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. On the geopolitical tip, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk announced his resignation "in connection with the collapse of the coalition and the blocking of government initiatives." Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) is on the verge of sanctioning Russia's top spies and security officials, according to Bloomberg. (USA Today)
  4. SODA and BBRY both surged amid buyout buzz.
  5. Option players are waxing optimistic ahead of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) earnings next week.
EARNINGS

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

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