Oil, Dollar Spook Bulls; Dow Jones Industrial Average Plunges

Crude oil surrendered nearly 10% on the week

Mar 13, 2015 at 4:26 PM
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After enjoying a brief respite north of its 2015 breakeven mark, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) took a turn for the worse -- succumbing to a triple-digit loss, and moving back into the red on a year-to-date basis. What's more, the blue-chip barometer notched its third straight weekly loss. Sparking the day's risk-off attitude was a renewed rally in the dollar, a steep sell-off in oil, and a round of uninspiring economic reports -- which hit the Street just ahead of next week's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy-setting meeting. Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) couldn't sustain its historical Friday the 13th trend, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell in step with its peers.

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

Outside of a brief tick higher at the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,749.31) spent the entire session below breakeven. At its intraday low, the blue-chip barometer was off 265.3 points, before paring these losses to 145.9 points, or 0.8%. Twenty-one of the Dow's 30 components headed south, with International Business Machines Corp.'s (NYSE:IBM) 2.3% loss leading the way. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) partially recovered from yesterday's slide to pace the seven advancers with its 0.9% gain, while Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) were unchanged. For the week, the DJI surrendered 0.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,053.40) gave back 12.6 points, or 0.6%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,871.76) shed 21.5 points, or 0.4%. Week-over-week, the SPX and COMP lost 0.9% and 1.1%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.00) added 0.6 point, or 3.8%. On a weekly basis, the market's "fear gauge" tacked on 5.3%.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Inflation remained muted in February, with the producer price index (PPI) dropping 0.5% -- its fourth straight monthly decline -- versus an expected rise of 0.3%. Elsewhere, consumers in the low- to middle-income range soured on the U.S economy in March, while sentiment among those in the higher-income bracket rose. Specifically, the preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 91.2 from its February reading of 95.4 -- and arrived below the consensus estimate of 95.5. (Bloomberg; Reuters)
  2. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called timeout on its review of the proposed merger between Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), as well as AT&T Inc.'s (NYSE:T) bid for DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV). Regulators say they need to hear court rulings regarding programming contracts for other media outlets before they can decide on the deals. (Bloomberg)
  3. It was a rough day for energy names, and Seadrill Ltd (NYSE:SDRL) was no exception. The stock tumbled to a fresh multi-year low, but options traders think the worst is yet to come.
  4. Jefferies weighed in on drugmakers Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANAC) and BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN).
  5. Eleventh-hour bears took aim at LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD), amid the stock's end-of-week slump.

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




The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast for a global oil glut -- as well as a strengthening greenback -- sent crude decidedly lower today. By the close, crude for April delivery was off $2.21, or 4.7%, at $44.84 per barrel -- its lowest settlement since Jan. 28. Week-over-week, black gold surrendered 9.6%.

Gold, however, managed to buck the rallying dollar -- and finish higher for a second straight session. At session's end, gold for April delivery was up 50 cents at $1,152.40 per ounce. For the week, the malleable metal gave back 1% -- its sixth weekly loss in seven.



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