Disappointing Wage Data Sparks Risk-Off Session for Dow Jones Industrial Average

Hourly wages fell by the most on record in December

Jan 9, 2015 at 11:45 AM
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After a brief foray above its 2015 breakeven level, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is back in the red on a year-to-date basis. At last check, the blue-chip barometer was down nearly 174 points, or 1%, at 17,734.05. Stoking today's risk-off attitude is concern over the latest jobs report. Although the U.S. added more jobs than expected last month and the unemployment rate declined by a wider-than-forecast margin, hourly wages dropped 0.2% -- the most since the data began being tracked in 2006. Looking ahead, fourth-quarter earnings season unofficially kicks off after next Monday's close, when aluminum giant Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) unveils its report.

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

  • The bold prediction one option bull made for this struggling mining concern.
  • Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner offered his two cents on cold weather, calculated estimates, and Chris Christie.
  • Plus ... Checking in on the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY), and other noteworthy stats at midday.

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is medical software concern Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:MDRX). The stock is off 1.6% at $12.77 amid a sector-wide retreat, yet calls are crossing the tape at 406 times the average intraday pace. Buy-to-open activity has been detected at the equity's January 2015 13-strike call -- MDRX's most active option -- as traders bet on a bounce for the shares by next Friday's close, when front-month options expire.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. (NYSE:RT) is one of the major decliners on the Big Board today, down 13.8% at $6.12, after the restaurant chain posted worse-than-expected fiscal second-quarter results and reduced its full-year sales forecast. Unlike several of its sector peers, the stock has been struggling on the charts of late, and has shed 23% over the past month.

To the dismay of Thursday's option bulls, biotechnology firm Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CNAT) is the leading laggard on the Nasdaq today. At last check, the stock is down 39.2% to $6.28 on disappointing drug news, but appears to have found a foothold in the $6 region. This area has served has support for CNAT since June.

Daily Chart of CNAT Since June 2014

After an initial tick lower at the start of the session, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 0.6 point, or 3.6%, at 17.65, thanks to a sharp bounce off its 30-day moving average.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.50, with puts outpacing calls. At last check, SPY is down 1.8 points, or 0.9%, at $204.13.


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