Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls Flat Following FOMC Minutes

Crude fell for a third straight session amid an unexpected rise in domestic supplies

Nov 19, 2014 at 4:25 PM
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After notching a record closing high on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) waffled south of breakeven for most of the day, as traders took some profits off the table ahead of this afternoon's minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. However, the central bank's commitment to keep interest rates low for "a considerable time" brought some buyers back to the table, with the blue-chip barometer up by roughly 25 points in the aftermath of the 2 p.m. ET release. By the close, though, the DJI couldn't maintain this mid-afternoon momentum, and settled with a modest loss.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,685.73) traded in a roughly 88-point range today, eventually succumbing to a loss of 2.1 points. Of the DJI's 30 components, 16 finished lower, led by UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s (NYSE:UNH) and Verizon Communications Inc.'s (NYSE:VZ) 1.4% drops. The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) paced the 13 advancers with its 1.6% pop. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,048.72) snapped its four-day winning streak, settling down 3.1 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,675.71), meanwhile, closed 26.7 points, or 0.6%, lower.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.96) added 0.1 point, or 0.7%, and finished north of its 10-day moving average for a third consecutive session.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The FOMC released the minutes from its Oct. 28-29 meeting this afternoon, at which all but one policymaker voted to end the Federal Reserve's bond-buying program. The central bank officials also voted to keep interest rates low "for a considerable time," with that particular phrase generating a divide among policymakers. Meanwhile, despite signs the economy is picking up steam, inflation is still is churning below the Fed's 2% target, creating cause for concern. According to the minutes, a number of officials said the central bank "should remain attentive to evidence of a possible downward shift in longer-term inflation expectations," which "would be even more worrisome if growth faltered." (USA Today)
  2. Although housing starts for single-family homes rose 4.2% in October, a 15.4% drop in construction of multi-family homes caused overall groundbreaking to fall 2.8%, according to the Commerce Department. Meanwhile, building permits for single- and multi-family homes surged 4.2% to a six-year-high pace of 1.08 million units. (Reuters)
  3. Unlike its blue-chip brethren The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD), Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE:LOW) rallied to a fresh record peak in the wake of its quarterly earnings results -- settling the session up more than 6%. What's more, HD pared a portion of yesterday's losses thanks to a halo lift from its sector peer.
  4. JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU) gave preference to shareholders today, sending the shares to a multi-year peak, and one option trader scrambling to up the bullish ante.
  5. Despite Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's (NYSE:BABA) recent technical struggles, short-term option bulls refuse to throw in the towel.
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:

Amid an unexpected rise in domestic stockpiles -- and ahead of next week's Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting -- crude oil fell for a third straight session, erasing early gains. By the close, December-dated crude was down 3 cents at $74.58 per barrel.

Gold edged lower today, as traders weighed reports of declining support for a Nov. 30 referendum on Switzerland's gold holdings. However, the malleable metal pared its losses following the FOMC minutes. At session's end, gold for December delivery was off $3.20, or 0.3%, at $1,193.90 per ounce.


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