Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P Log Biggest Monthly Losses in a Year

Crude had its best day in more than two years

by Karee Venema

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

Despite a brief pop north of breakeven in early trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) spent nearly the entire session in the red. By the time the dust settled, the DJI was staring at a triple-digit loss -- and its second consecutive monthly decline. Sparking the day's risk-off attitude were signs of a slowdown in the U.S. economy, as well as a surprise maneuver from Russia's central bank. Elsewhere on the Street, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) gave back a significant portion of Thursday's gains, with the former -- like the Dow -- logging its biggest monthly drop in more than a year. Looking ahead to next week, traders will have plenty to digest on both the earnings and economic fronts, including quarterly results from Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and the always important nonfarm payrolls report.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,164.95) traded in a 263-point range, with almost all of the day's action to the downside. By the close, the blue-chip barometer was off 251.9 points, or 1.5%, to settle near its session low. Visa Inc (NYSE:V) was the Dow's sole advancer, tacking on 2.8%, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) paced the 29 decliners with its 3.8% loss. On a weekly basis, the DJI gave back 2.9%, and was down 3.7% on the month.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,994.99) closed with a 26.3-point, or 1.3%, loss -- bringing its week-to-date deficit to 2.8% -- and finished south of 2,000 for just the second time since mid-December. Meanwhile the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,635.24) settled 48.2 points, or 1%, lower, to close the week with a 2.6% loss. Month-over-month, the SPX and COMP shed 3.1% and 2.1%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 20.97) tacked on 2.2 points, or 11.8%, to close at its highest perch since Jan. 15. For the week and month, the market's "fear gauge" rallied 25.9% and 9.2%, respectively.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The U.S. economy grew at a slower-than-expected 2.6% pace in the fourth quarter, according to the Commerce Department's advance GDP reading. In other economic news, consumer sentiment soared to its highest level in 11 years, while the employment cost index arrived in line with estimates. (CNN Money; CNBC; MarketWatch)
  2. The Bank of Russia made an unexpected move, slashing its key interest rate by 2 percentage points to 15%. According to the central bank, today's decision came after last month's surprise rate hike "resulted in stabilization of inflation and depreciation expectations to the extent the Bank of Russia expected." The news sent the ruble spiraling by as much as 4% against the dollar in intraday action. (Bloomberg)
  3. AMZN rallied nearly 14% today following an upbeat earnings report and subsequent round of upbeat analyst notes.
  4. The path to riches: how these 3 notable CEOs amassed their fortunes.
  5. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) got slapped with post-earnings bearish backlash from the brokerage bunch.
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 oil enjoyed its best day in more than two years, following reports of a drop-off in U.S. rig counts. By the close, crude for March delivery was up $3.71, or 8.3%, at $48.24 per barrel. On the week, liquid gold tacked on 5.8%, but lost 9.4% on the month.

Gold bounced back from yesterday's steep sell-off, thanks to today's uninspiring GDP report. At session's end, April-dated gold was up $23.30, or 1.9%, to settle at $1,279.20 per ounce. Week-over-week, the malleable metal shed 1%, but added 8% on a monthly basis -- its loftiest monthly percentage gain in three years.


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