Ugly Data Sparks Seesaw Session for Dow Jones Industrial Average

Crude oil fell into territory not charted since April 2009

Jan 2, 2015 at 4:23 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) started 2015 with an early triple-digit advance, but a bout of uninspiring economic reports took the wind out of the bulls' sails. Specifically, the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index dropped by more than expected last month -- echoing a chilly report from across the pond -- and U.S. construction spending took a surprise dive in November. Elsewhere, crude oil futures continued to plumb new five-year lows, while the U.S. dollar extended its recent advance. Against this backdrop, the Dow ended a seesaw session with a modest gain, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) started the New Year fractionally lower.

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

  • Can Electronic Arts Inc.'s (NASDAQ:EA) "Madden NFL" game shed light on Wild Card Weekend? Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner crunches the numbers.
  • 3 companies that could make waves at next week's highly anticipated Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
  • Could Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) option buyers be more bullish? How the streaming video service fared after a day of universal binge-watching.
  • Plus ... A dose of ugly data, payback for the hack on Sony Corp (ADR) (NYSE:SNE), and optimistic action on a pair of retailers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,832.99) explored a range of more than 220 points today, but ultimately called it a wash, ending 9.9 points, or 0.1%, higher in the first session of 2015. Exactly half of the Dow's 30 components ended in the black, led by a 1.1% gain for Visa Inc (NYSE:V). Home Depot (NYSE:HD) paced the decliners, dropping 1.5%. For the week, the Dow dipped 1.2%.

In similar fashion, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,058.20) traded on both sides of breakeven, but finished 0.7 point lower, bringing its losing streak to three sessions. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,726.81) also flirted with gains and losses, settling on a deficit of 9.2 points, or 0.2%. For the week, the SPX and COMP shed 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 17.79) resolved to the downside, dropping 1.4 points, or 7.3%. However, the index ended a second straight session atop its 10-day and 20-day moving averages. For the week, the "fear barometer" rallied 21.9%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The ISM manufacturing index fell by more than expected in December, in part due to a West Coast slowdown amid labor negotiations. The ISM index now sits at its lowest point since June. Meanwhile, U.S. construction spending took a surprise dip in November, marking the first monthly decline since June. (MarketWatch; Reuters)
  2. The U.S. issued new sanctions against North Korea for "ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyberattack" on SNE. (CNBC)
  3. Analysts applauded the sales momentum at Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY), ahead of the company's turn in the earnings confessional next week.
  4. Option players rolled the dice on happy holiday returns for Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY).
  5. Speculators are counting on more downside for beleaguered United States Steel Corporation (NYSE:X).

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

STOCKS – NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS – NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities:

After suffering a 46% annual drop in 2014, crude futures got off to a rough start in 2015. Dragged lower by a stronger U.S. dollar and oversupply concerns, February-dated oil shed 58 cents, or 1.1%, to settle at $52.69 per barrel -- black gold's lowest close since April 2009. For the holiday-shortened week, crude shed 3.7%.

Gold, meanwhile, edged higher today, as lackluster economic data sparked "safe haven" demand. By the close, February-dated gold added $2.10, or 0.2%, to land at $1,186.20 per ounce. For the week, however, the malleable metal gave up 0.8%, marking its third straight weekly decline.

 

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