18K Still in Play as Dow Jones Industrial Average Reacts to Fed

Crude futures snapped their winning streak, while the Fed pledged patience

Feb 18, 2015 at 4:33 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) finished in the red -- where it spent most of the day -- despite a brief push into positive territory late in the day, following the release of the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) latest meeting. Elsewhere on the home front, investors saw industrial production data that failed to meet expectations, along with declines in housing starts and wholesale-level inflation. Traders also digested news from overseas, as the European Central Bank extended a lifeline to Greek banks. By the time the dust settled, the crucial 18,000 millennium level on the Dow was still very much in play.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 18,029.85) spent most of the day in the red, losing nearly 18 points, or 0.1%, but maintained its foothold atop the 18,000 mark. Of the Dow's 30 components, 13 finished higher, with Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) leading the way with a 1.9% gain. Conversely, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) saw the steepest losses (2.2%), as oil dropped and the Oracle of Omaha updated his portfolio.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,099.68) followed the Dow's lead and closed near breakeven, finishing less than 1 point, or 0.03%, lower, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,906.36) was able to push higher -- and hit another annual high -- finishing with a gain of 7.1 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.45) dropped 0.4 point, or 2.2%, with the "fear index" backing away from the significant 15.50 area.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The minutes from the FOMC's latest meeting revealed that more officials are in favor of keeping rates at zero "for a longer time" instead of raising them sooner. The minutes don't specify how many officials support keeping the rates low for an extended period, but noted that "many" said raising them too soon would be harmful to economic recovery. (MarketWatch)
  2. The ECB approved a two-week extension on emergency lending for Greek banks. The extension is good for the equivalent of $78 billion, and comes at a time when Greece is trying to negotiate a financing deal with eurozone leaders. (CNBC)
  3. The shares of Angie's List exploded today -- and so did its options.
  4. It was a painful day for commodity concern Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG), while sector peer Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL) didn't fare much better, despite an analyst upgrade.
  5. Snapchat's valuation hit new heights today, but is it deserving of the hype?
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:

Oil's winning streak came to a screeching halt today, with traders tapping the brakes ahead of tomorrow's inventory data. At the close, oil for April delivery -- the most active contract -- was off $1.47, or 2.7%, to close at $52.82 per barrel.

Gold continued its descent today, touching its lowest mark in seven weeks. April-dated gold dropped $8.40, or 0.7%, to close at $1,200.02 an ounce. However, the precious metal pared its losses in electronic trading following the release of the FOMC minutes.

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