Tech Tumbles; Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Drop Triple Digits

Profit-taking and weak durable goods data crush stocks

by Josh Selway

Published on Mar 25, 2015 at 4:25 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

It was an ugly day for U.S. markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) made a quick stop in positive territory out of the gate, but it was all downhill from there, with the index dropping triple digits to end south of 18,000. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) also endured sharp losses, with the latter pacing the broad-market decline amid sector sell-offs in tech and biotech stocks. Indexes were also hurt by weak durable goods data, while crude oil extended its winning streak as the recently volatile dollar took a breather and geopolitical turmoil ramped up.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,718.54) sank lower and lower throughout the session, giving up the 18,000 level. At the close, the Dow was down 292.6 points, or 1.6%, for the day. Of the Dow's 30 components, only Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) managed to finish positive. The "biggest loser" crown went to tech titan Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its 3.4% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,061.05) dropped 30.5 points, or 1.5%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,876.52) lost 118.2 points, or 2.4% -- the index's worst percentage loss in 11 months.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.44) shot higher today, adding 1.8 points, or 13.4%, to retake the 15 level. What's more, the "fear index" finished atop its 200-day trendline for the first time since March 17.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Orders for durable goods fell 1.4% in February, the Commerce Department said, surprising economists. It's the third time in four months the reading has come in lower than the previous month's. Cited as possible causes for the slowdown was the winter weather and conflicts at West Coast shipping ports. (USA Today)
  2. Investigators were able to retrieve cockpit recordings from a black box of the German Airbus that crashed yesterday and killed all onboard. Information about the recordings could be available within a few days. France's air incident investigation unit made clear that it was too early in the investigation to speculate what caused the crash. (Reuters)
  3. This steel stock showed rare technical tenacity, resulting in an uptick in call buying.
  4. 3 companies preparing to step into the earnings confessional tomorrow.
  5. Put buyers looked to profit off of Keurig Green Mountain Inc's (NASDAQ:GMCR) technical woes.
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 shot higher today, finishing at an almost two-week peak, as the dollar cooled and fighting in Yemen fueled supply concerns. May-dated oil added $1.70, or 3.6%, to finish at $49.21 per barrel.

For the sixth day in a row, gold closed higher, as lackluster economic data triggered safe-haven demand. April-dated gold added $5.60, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,199.30 per ounce.


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