Dow Jones Industrial Average Gives Up Perch at 18K

Crude futures finish a seesaw session in the black; gold conquers $1,200

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Dec 30, 2014 at 4:23 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

In another light-volume, pre-holiday session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) extended yesterday's retreat -- and breached the round-number 18,000 level -- and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) backpedaled from record-high territory. Dragging stocks lower were concerns about Greece's future in the eurozone, as well as a round of less-than-impressive economic and sentiment data on the homefront. Meanwhile, crude oil ended a wishy-washy session modestly higher, bouncing from a five-year low, and gold futures scored a round-number victory as traders -- those not on vacation, anyway -- sought safe-haven investments.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,983.07) gave up 55.2 points, or 0.3%, to snap a four-session streak of closes north of 18,000. Twenty-five of the Dow's 30 blue chips ended in the red, led by Caterpillar Inc.'s (NYSE:CAT) 1.2% drop. UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) paced the four gainers, tacking on 0.5%, while American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) finished flat.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,080.35) dropped 10.2 points, or 0.5%, to settle just off an intraday low. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,777.44) ended its string of closes atop 4,800 at two, swallowing a loss of 29.5 points, or 0.6%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.92) advanced 0.9 point, or 5.7%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Growth in U.S. home prices slowed for an 11th consecutive month in October, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. The 4.5% year-over-year advance fell short of estimates, and was the smallest gain in two years. (USA Today)
  2. The Conference Board's consumer confidence report showed improvement in December from the month prior, but missed the Street's expectations by a slim margin. At the same time, however, the present situation index hit its highest level since early 2008. (CNBC)
  3. Attention Holiday Gift Card Recipients: Our own Alex Eppstein weighs in on WMT's trade-in program.
  4. This energy services provider got crushed on the charts.
  5. How SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) option players keep upping the bearish ante.

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 rebounded from yesterday's five-year low, despite a choppy session plagued by oversupply worries and ongoing supply disruptions in Libya. Specifically, the February-dated contract added 51 cents, or 1%, to settle at $54.12 per barrel.

February-dated gold rallied back above the key $1,200 level, amid weakness in the dollar and in the stock markets. At the close, the malleable metal was up $18.50, or 1.6%, at $1,200.40 per ounce.


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