Dow Jones Industrial Average Ends Seesaw Session Lower

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard surprised many by proposing extended QE

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Oct 16, 2014 at 4:17 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) flip-flopped all day, but ended just south of breakeven for a sixth consecutive loss. While the blue-chip index at one point was staring at a more than 200-point deficit -- and was sitting below the critical 16,000 level -- stronger-than-expected economic data and comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard helped calm investor fears. A number of notable companies also reported quarterly earnings, with Dow component UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) gaining nearly 4% following a successful turn in the confessional. In other news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed a new line of iPads and provided an update on its Apple Pay digital payment system, though speculators weren't impressed, with the stock settling 1.3% lower.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,117.24) finished 24.5 points, or 0.2%, lower, despite dropping by as many as 206.5 points around 10:20 a.m. ET. Two-thirds of the DJI's 30 components ended in the red, paced by a 2.6% loss at Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS). UNH was the biggest winner, adding 3.9%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,862.76) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,217.39) posted extremely slim gains. The SPX edged 0.3 point higher, while the COMP added 2.1 points.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 25.20) slumped 1.1 points, or 4%, but still managed its second-highest close in the last two years.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level in 14-plus years last week, unexpectedly dropping to 264,000 from 287,000. What's more, the four-week average of new claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, hit its lowest mark since 2000. (MarketWatch)
  2. A number of Federal Reserve officials stepped behind the microphone today to offer remarks about the state of the economy. Among them, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser said "interest rates may begin to increase sooner than previously anticipated," and called on the central bank to adjust its formal policy to reflect changes to the U.S. economy. Elsewhere, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart described the labor market as "far from normal," citing a disproportionate number of part-time workers. Perhaps the biggest surprise came from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who proposed the central bank consider extending its monthly asset purchases amid the recent downturn in the stock market. (CNBC; MarketWatch)
  3. It looks like NFLX will face additional competition, as CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) announced it will soon offer an online streaming service of its own.
  4. This Chinese Internet issue received yet another bullish brokerage note, and rallied in response.
  5. Online auctioneer eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) plunged following earnings news, as Wall Street turned bearish.
EARNINGS

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

STOCKS – NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS – NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities:

Crude oil managed to recover from a four-year low of $79.78 early in the session, touched after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data showing higher-than-expected U.S. inventories. By day's end, though, the November-dated contract added 92 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $82.70 per barrel, as monthly crude options expired.

Gold's three-day winning streak came to an end, as traders shunned the precious metal in favor of stocks. By the close, December-dated gold was down $3.60, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,241.20 per ounce.

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