Dow Jones Industrial Average Ends Seesaw Session Flat

February crude dropped 4.7% on the IMF's latest global economic growth forecast

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 20, 2015 at 4:20 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) ended an up-and-down session slightly higher, as strength in the tech sector -- as well as optimism ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank (ECB) announcement -- helped to offset a rough day for energy. Specifically, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) decision to cut its global economic growth forecast for this year and next triggered a massive sell-off in crude. Meanwhile, a number of key earnings reports have just hit the Street -- including data from IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) -- while President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union address later this evening.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,515.23) traded in a nearly 242-point range today, and ultimately resolved 3.7 points higher. Half of the Dow's 30 components ended north of breakeven, with The Coca-Cola Co (NYSE:KO) tacking on 1.5% to lead the way. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) led the 15 decliners with a 2.6% loss.

Meanwhile, after testing support near the 2,000 level, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,022.55) closed with a 3.1-point, or 0.2%, lead. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,654.85) outpaced its peers, advancing 20.5 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 19.89) dropped 1.1 points, or 5.1%, and settled below the 20 mark -- which corresponds with the VIX's 10-day moving average -- for the first time since Jan. 12.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Homebuilder sentiment unexpectedly dipped in January, according to the National Association of Home Builders housing market index. However, the reading of 57 represents the seventh straight month north of 50, meaning market conditions are still considered favorable. (Reuters)
  2. Baker Hughes Incorporation (NYSE:BHI) -- an oilfield services provider that is being acquired by Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) -- announced plans to lay off 7,000 employees -- which represents more than 10% of its workforce. This follows Schlumberger Limited's (NYSE:SLB) decision last week to cut 9,000 positions, as falling energy prices continue to ripple through the industry. (USA Today)
  3. A CEO shake-up translated into major options action for Outerwall Inc (NASDAQ:OUTR).
  4. How tonight's State of the Union address could impact this health technology stock.
  5. An upwardly revised fourth-quarter outlook provided a boost to Mosaic Co (NYSE:MOS) -- and captured the attention of option bulls.
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 sold off amid the IMF's downwardly revised economic growth forecast, and a 24-year low for China's economic expansion rate. Also weighing on liquid gold were comments from Iran's oil minister, who said the nation could tolerate oil prices as low as $25 per barrel. Crude for February delivery dropped $2.30, or 4.7%, to close at $46.39 per barrel.

Gold advanced for a seventh consecutive day to settle at its highest close in five months, as uncertainty ahead of the ECB meeting and the turmoil created by the Swiss National Bank last week continued to push investors toward safe-haven investments. By the close, the February-dated contract had gained $17.30, or 1.4%, to land at $1,294.20 per ounce -- territory not charted since mid-August.


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