Dow Surrenders 1Q Gains; S&P, COMP Make 9 in a Row

Crude shed 10.6% in the first quarter, while gold edged lower

Mar 31, 2015 at 4:26 PM
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Stocks couldn't maintain Monday's momentum, with all three major market indexes notching notable declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), for instance, erased nearly all of yesterday's gains -- and slipped into the red on a quarterly basis in a late-day sell-off -- as traders digested the latest round of economic reports and slumping energy prices. However, although the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) each logged significant losses in today's trading, they remained above water for the quarter. In fact, both the SPX and COMP extended their quarterly win streaks to nine -- the longest for the SPX since 1997, and the lengthiest on record for the COMP.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,776.12) headed south out of the gate, eventually settling with a 200.2-point, or 1.1%, loss. Twenty-seven of the Dow's 30 components closed lower, led by a 2.2% drop for UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH). American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) paced the three advancers with its 0.4% gain. On a monthly basis, the DJIA shed 2%, and 0.3% on the quarter.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,067.89) gave back 18.4 points, or 0.9% on the day, and 1.7% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,900.88), meanwhile, ended the session at a 46.6-point, or 0.9%, loss, and the month with a 1.3% deficit. For the quarter, however, the SPX and COMP added 0.4% and 3.5%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.29) snapped its two-day losing streak -- adding 0.8 point, or 5.4%, and reclaiming its perch atop the 15 mark. For the month, the market's "fear gauge" jumped 14.6%, but wallowed to a 20.4% quarterly loss.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Consumer confidence rose to its highest level since August 2007 in March, with the Conference Board's measure topping out at 101.3 -- easily above economists' estimate of 96.4. Elsewhere on the economic front, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index rose 4.6% year-over-year in January, while the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI) edged up to 46.3 from 45.8 in February, but signaled contraction for a second straight month.(USA Today; CNBC; MarketWatch)
  2. Initial public offerings (IPOs) fell to a two-year low of 34 in the first quarter, with the $5.4 billion raised marking the most paltry amount since the third quarter of 2011. These figures include newcomer GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE:GDDY), which will begin trading on the Big Board tomorrow. (MarketWatch; TIME)
  3. SCTY continued to rally today, in the wake of yesterday's rumor-related surge, but options traders think there's more room to run.
  4. This real estate issue soared on news of a roughly $1.5 billion purchase, while this mining magnate plunged after denying rumors of a potential merger.
  5. How pre-earnings sentiment is stacked up on these 3 names.

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




Anxiety surrounding nuclear negotiations in Iran sent crude lower for a third straight day. At the close, May-dated crude was down $1.08, or 2.2%, at $47.60 per barrel. For the month, crude surrendered 4.3%, and 10.6% on the quarter.

Gold also notched its third consecutive loss today, as the greenback gained ground. At session's end, gold for April delivery was off $1.70, or 0.1%, at $1,183.10 per ounce. On a monthly basis, the malleable metal gave back 2.5%, and fell slightly on the quarter.


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