Dow Jones Industrial Average Sinks as Post-Fed Euphoria Wanes

The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) touched the 5,000 level for a second straight day

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:18 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) spent the entire session south of the flatline, as investors continued to digest yesterday's Fed policy statement -- which hinted at a possible interest rate hike as early as June. Also, the Street analyzed the latest round of economic data, including a slight increase in weekly jobless claims. In other Dow-related news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) assumed its place on the blue-chip index, replacing AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), while shares of Visa Inc (NYSE:V) finally underwent a 4-for-1 split. Lastly, while the DJIA ended with another triple-digit loss, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) managed a small gain -- and briefly peeked above the 5,000 level once again.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,959.03) gave back some of Wednesday's gains -- and surrendered its perch atop 18,000 -- dropping 117.2 points, or 0.7%. Just five of the Dow's 30 components finished higher, led by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK), which added 1%. On the flip side, DuPont (NYSE:DD) paced a group of 24 losers with a 2% drop, and IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) was unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,089.27) retreated 10.2 points, or 0.5%. Conversely, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,992.38) tacked on 9.6 points, or 0.2%, and flirted with the 5,000 millennium mark throughout the day.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.07) inched 0.1 point, or 0.7%, higher, but ended a second straight session beneath its 200-day moving average.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose in line with expectations last week, to 291,000 from 290,000 the week prior. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index posted its fourth straight monthly decline in March, and registered at its lowest level since February 2014. (Reuters)
  2. As expected, TSLA unveiled software for its Model S electric car to help drivers stay within range of a charging station. Also, CEO Elon Musk announced an "auto steering" feature for the sedan, which he predicted will be ready in roughly three months. (CNBC)
  3. This trio of stocks will be in focus tomorrow morning, as earnings hit the Street.
  4. A court ruling weighed on Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C), but these option bulls were undeterred.
  5. Put buying was unusually popular on Meritor Inc (NYSE:MTOR) -- and for good reason.
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 pared a portion of Wednesday's gains, pressured by record U.S. stockpiles and remarks from Kuwait's oil minister -- who said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) must maintain production to avoid losing market share. At the close, the April-dated contract was down 70 cents, or 1.6%, at $43.96 per barrel.

Gold rode yesterday's Fed-induced momentum higher to settle at a two-week high. By the close, gold for April delivery was up $17.70, or 1.5%, at $1,169 per ounce.


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