Dow Jones Industrial Average Feels the Heat from Fed, Energy

The FOMC will announce its latest policy decision at 2 p.m. ET

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:24 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is set to continue Tuesday's Fed-related sell-off, with futures pointed solidly lower ahead of the bell. All eyes will be on the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today, with the central bank's latest policy decision set for release at 2 p.m. ET, and a press conference with Fed Chief Janet Yellen to follow. Anxiety is building that the FOMC will drop the word "patient" from its policy statement, and provide clues as to when interest rates will be raised. Also weighing on investor sentiment is crude oil's downward trajectory. Black gold is headed lower once again, after the American Petroleum Institute said last night crude supplies rose by more than expected. Official figures will be released by the Energy Information Administration later this morning.

And now, on to the numbers...

Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) were more than 75 points below fair value.

Market Statistics

The Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 779,655 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 579,485 put contracts. The resultant single-session equity put/call ratio rose to 0.74, while the 21-day moving average remained at 0.64.

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

Volatility indices

Currencies and Commodities

  • The U.S. dollar index is down 0.1% at 99.53.
  • Ahead of today's weekly inventories update, crude oil is off 2.2% at $44.18 per barrel.
  • Gold, meanwhile, is up 0.1% at $1,149.60 per ounce.
Currencies and commodities

Earnings and Economic Data

The weekly crude inventories update will garner some attention this morning. However, all eyes will be on the FOMC, which will release its latest policy decision at 2 p.m. ET, followed by a press conference with Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Slated to report earnings are FedEx (FDX), General Mills (GIS), Guess (GES), Jabil Circuit (JBL), NQ Mobile (NQ), Renren (RENN), Silver Wheaton (SLW), and Tilly's (TLYS). To see what else is on this week's agenda, click here.

Overseas Trading

It was a mostly higher finish in Asia today, as traders expressed optimism ahead of today's policy decision from the FOMC. In China, the Shanghai Composite soared 2.1%, as a sharp drop in home prices fueled expectations for additional stimulus. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng tacked on 0.9%, thanks to a rally in solar stocks, while Japan's Nikkei added 0.6%, following a bigger-than-forecast rise in exports. South Korea's Kospi, meanwhile, gave back 0.1%, as unemployment ticked higher.

European equities are mixed at midday, as traders keep a close eye trained on the U.S. Fed. In London, the FTSE 100 is up 0.7%, despite a downwardly revised gross domestic product (GDP) forecast from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The German DAX and the French CAC 40, however, are flirting with 0.8% and 0.2% losses, respectively.

Overseas markets

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations.

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls


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