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Stocks Snap Winning Streak on Merger Monday

Crude futures pulled back from nine-month highs

by 6/23/2014 4:20:53 PM
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Despite a valiant comeback effort in the final hour of trading, the major market indexes snapped their six-session winning streak today, as traders took profits in spite of encouraging domestic data. Specifically, existing home sales logged their best month-over-month gain in nearly three years in May, while the flash purchasing managers index (PMI) jumped to a four-year high in June. By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) backpedaled from record-high territory, finishing modestly south of breakeven.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,937.26) was down more than 50 points at its intraday low, but pared its loss to 9.8 points, or 0.1%, by the close. Half of the Dow's 30 blue chips ended in the red, led by General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), which both shed 1.1%. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) led the 14 advancing equities, tacking on 1.1%, while AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) finished flat.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,962.61) charted a similar path; despite gaining momentum in the final hour of trading, the broad-market index ended fractionally lower. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,368.68) had better luck than its peers, rebounding from a 10-point deficit to end a hair's breadth north of breakeven.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 10.98) ended higher for the third straight session, but couldn't notch a win north of 11. By the close, the market's "fear barometer" added 0.1 point, or 1.2%.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Existing home sales rose a sequential 4.9% in May, the National Association of Realtors reported, marking the best month-over-month growth since August 2011. Specifically, existing home sales soared to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.89 million last month, topping expectations for a rate of 4.73 million, while the median existing home price shot 5.1% higher year-over-year to $213,400. (USA Today)
  2. Markit's flash PMI rose to 57.5 in June, surpassing estimates for a reading of 56.5, and marking the highest level in more than four years. The data suggests "the U.S. economy rebounded strongly in the second quarter from the weather-related weakness seen at the start of the year," opined Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist. (CNBC)
  3. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made a cameo in Baghdad, where he pledged "intense and sustained" support for Iraq, which is dealing with a Sunni revolt. Kerry said Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reiterated his commitment to a July 1 deadline to form a new government. (Reuters)
  4. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) tagged a 14-year peak, and option buyers are wagering on even more upside this week.
  5. Short-term bulls also took aim at blue-chip financial firm Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC).

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

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