Dow Jones Industrial Average Sinks 138 Points as U.S. Strikes Afghanistan

7 Top Stocks for Contrarian Traders

by Karee Venema |

Published on Apr 13, 2017 at 4:27 PM

After clawing its way to modest gains at midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) took a sharp turn lower on news the U.S. had dropped a "MOAB" -- or "Mother of All Bombs" -- on an Islamic State tunnel target in Afghanistan. This only added to the geopolitical jitters that have kept stocks in check this week, and sent the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) spiking to its highest perch in five months. Financial shares were also on the radar, as big banks welcomed in first-quarter earnings season. Amid mixed results for JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo, the Dow closed south of its 10-week moving average for the first time since the U.S. presidential election.

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

  • The 7 top stocks for bullish contrarian traders.
  • Options traders are taking a defensive stance on United stock ahead of earnings.
  • 3 energy stocks that got whacked by analysts.
  • Plus, VIX call buyers vanish; a surging mining stock; and a glimmer of hope for SeaWorld.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 20,453.25) closed at its session low, down 138.6 points, or 0.7% -- bringing its weekly deficit to 1%. Chevron stock's 2.6% drop paced the 28 Dow decliners. Disney and Visa were the two gainers, adding 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,328.95) gave back 16 points, or 0.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,805.15) shed 31 points, or 0.5% -- also at their session lows. For the week, the SPX and COMP shed a respective 1.1% and 1.2%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.96) topped out at a session high of 16.22, before closing up 0.2 point, or 1.2%. On a weekly basis, the market's "fear gauge" surged 24%.

closing indexes summary april 13
nyse and nasdaq stats april 13

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. In a series of tweets today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk set a September reveal date for the company's electric semi truck, noting it was "Seriously next level." Plans for the semi truck were first hinted at in Part 2 of Musk's "master plan," released last summer.  (TechCrunch)
  2. Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said the bank expects the fees related to last year's account scandal to range between $70 million and $80 million per quarter for "several quarters." This is more than the estimate of $50 million to $60 million the bank gave back in February. (Bloomberg)
  3. VIX call buyers vanished ahead of the recent volatility spike.
  4. Hecla Mining stock surged amid a broader commodities boom, bringing its one-month gain north of 30%.
  5. SeaWorld received an upbeat "buy" initiation today, which gave the troubled stock a much-needed boost.

corporate earnings april 13
unusual options activity april 13
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

Oil prices finished a choppy session higher, as traders weighed encouraging supply-and-demand comments from the International Energy Agency (IEA) -- which said the two levels are nearly balanced -- against a 13th straight weekly rise in the domestic rig count. By the close, crude for May delivery had tacked on 7 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $53.18 per barrel. Crude also notched its third straight weekly win, up 1.8% since last Friday's close. 

Gold climbed for a third straight session, benefiting from its safe-haven status, as well as a weaker U.S. dollar. June-dated gold closed up $10.40, or 0.8%, at $1,288.50 an ounce -- its loftiest settlement since Nov. 4. For the week, gold futures rose 2.5%.
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