Energy Sell-Off Sends Dow Jones Industrial Average to Triple-Digit Loss

Crude oil fell to a fresh five-year low, while gold bounced back

by Karee Venema

Published on Dec 8, 2014 at 4:27 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

After showing some resiliency amid disappointing global economic data in early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) began charting a path steadily lower around midday -- eventually settling with a triple-digit loss, and its largest single-day slide since October. Prompting the day's risk-off attitude was a continued slump in the energy sector, as well as big drops for blue-chip components Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD). Today's decline was not relegated to the DJI, though, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) surrendering 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,852.48) peeked above breakeven within an hour after the open, but finished the session down 106.3 points, or 0.6%. Nineteen of the Dow's 30 components closed lower, led by MCD's 3.8% plunge. United Technologies Corporation's (NYSE:UTX) 1.6% gain paced the 11 advancers.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,060.31) also spent a portion of the session north of the flatline, before settling with a 15.1-point, or 0.7%, loss. In similar fashion, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,740.69) was up 0.3% at its intraday peak, before closing 40.1 points, or 0.8%, lower.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.21) jumped 2.4 points, or 20.2%, to notch its second close north of 14 this month.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Amid the recent sell-off in oil -- as well as a strengthening dollar -- emerging-market currencies are lingering near multi-year lows. Specifically, an index measuring 20 emerging-market currencies -- including South Africa's rand, Thailand's baht, and Poland's zloty -- plunged to its lowest level against the greenback since April 2003 today. Meanwhile the Russian ruble has put in its worst annual performance against the dollar since 1998 -- the last time the country defaulted. (Bloomberg)
  2. Ahead of next week's two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy-setting meeting, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said the central bank must be patient in its approach to raising interest rates. Lockhart -- who will become a voting member of the FOMC next year -- forecast a "mid-year or later" rate hike. (MarketWatch)
  3. Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) rallied to a new 12-year high in early action, but option traders think there's more fuel left in the tank.
  4. MCD's sales-induced slump had option bulls on the losing end of their short-term bets.
  5. Nomura took the high road on this credit card concern, sending the shares to a fresh record peak.
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 continued its sell-off today, following a dreary outlook from Morgan Stanley -- as well as remarks from one Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member, who forecast oil prices to remain near $65 per barrel through the first half of 2015. At the close, crude for January delivery was down $2.79, or 4.2%, to $63.05 per barrel -- a new five-year low.

Soft economic data from overseas helped send gold higher today, with the February-dated contract tacking on $4.50, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,194.90 per ounce.


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