Dow Jones Industrial Average Swings 236; Nasdaq Snaps Win Streak

2 Huge Options Bets On Gold

Aug 26, 2016 at 4:26 PM
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It was a whipsaw session for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), which was up more than 100 points at its session high, and down triple digits at its intraday low -- the first time the Dow has staged such a wide intraday swing since June 16. Stocks were pulled in both directions by a fresh round of interest-rate chatter from several central bank officials, most notably Fed Chair Janet Yellen -- who suggested the economy is getting strong enough to handle an interest-rate hike, but gave no clear indication as to when that may occur. While the Dow eventually settled lower, telecom and utility stocks weighed on the S&P 500 Index (SPX), and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) snapped its eight-week winning streak -- the longest in seven years.


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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,395.40) settled the roller-coaster session down 53 points, or 0.3%. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) paced the 21 decliners with its 1.3% loss, while Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) led the advancers with its 0.9% gain. For the week, the Dow gave back 0.8%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,169.04) shed 3.4 points, or 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,218.92) gained 6.7 points, or 0.1%. On a weekly basis, the SPX lost 0.7%, while the COMP surrendered 0.4%. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.65) added 0.02 point, or 0.2%, for the day -- and surged 20.4% on the week. Despite running out of steam near 15, the market's "fear gauge" settled at its loftiest perch since July 7.

indexes closing summary august 26

nyse and nasdaq stats august 26

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Following Yellen's mid-morning speech, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said next Friday's jobs report could play a key role in whether the central bank will hike interest rates sooner rather than later. While Fischer explained there are a lot of data points for the Fed to sift through, he echoed Yellen's earlier remarks that the U.S. economy is strengthening, saying "We're reasonably close to what is thought of as full employment." (CNBC)
  2. In addition to this morning's gross domestic product (GDP) data, a separate report showed the trade gap for July narrowed by a smaller-than-forecast $59.3 billion. Additionally, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index unexpectedly fell to 89.8 this month. (MarketWatch; FOX Business)
  3. Bill Ackman took more jabs at Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF), after confirming that he could've been on the receiving end of the potential sale of Carl Icahn's stake.
  4. Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc's (NASDAQ:EGLE) volatile day of trading culminated in a 30% gain.
  5. Things just got worse for ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE:ESI), which plummeted to a new record low after Piper Jaffray suggested the shares are worthless.

quarterly earnings august 26

unusual options activity august 26
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Oil prices gained ground today, after data showed the number of active domestic oil rigs was unchanged on a week-over-week basis. At the close, October-dated crude was up 31 cents, or 0.7%, at $47.64 per barrel. Comparing front-month contracts, though, crude oil shed 1.2% for the week.

Gold edged higher amid a volatile day of trading for the U.S. dollar. By session's end, gold for December delivery was $1.30, or 0.1%, higher at $1,325.90 an ounce. Week-over-week, gold prices dropped 1.5% -- the most on a weekly basis since mid-July.

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