Dow Jones Industrial Average Sputters; Oil Turns Higher

Crude shows strength, sets another best

by Josh Selway

Published on Apr 16, 2015 at 4:25 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) traded with modest losses for much of the day, and despite an afternoon breakout to the upside, failed to notch a third straight win. Bears and bulls spent the session in a tug-of-war match, with the latter encouraged by disappointing economic data and drama out of Greece. Against this backdrop, and despite strong earnings results, crude's reversal, and dovish Fed chatter, the major market indexes settled south of breakeven.

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

  • An FDA approval sent this pharmaceutical stock to a three-year peak, while its sector peer got a boost from positive drug results.
  • Who knew traders were so enamored by social media? Looking in on how call buyers have been all over Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR).
  • 2 financial giants that squashed earnings estimates, and the blue chip that gets its chance tomorrow.
  • Plus ... Lockhart goes dovish, the wheelin' and dealin' drug company, and the Wall Street freshman that soared 87.5% in its debut.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,105.77) appeared ready to make it three winning sessions in a row, but stumbled in the last hour. At the close, index was down 6.8 points, or 0.04%. Only nine of the index's 30 components finished in the black. After reporting strong earnings, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) added 3.7%, making it the top gainer, with Merck & Co., Inc.'s (NYSE:MRK) 1% loss rounding out the losers.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,104.99) held the 2,100 level, but dropped 1.6 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,007.79) fell slightly, too, dropping 3.2 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.60) dropped 0.2 point, or 1.9%, finishing below 13 -- and its 10- and 20-day moving averages -- once again.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. In a speech today, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart made comments about uncertain economic conditions and "notably weak" first-quarter data, that some believe could push the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to raise interest rates later than expected. (CNBC)
  2. Speaking of unflattering economic data, weekly jobless claims rose unexpectedly. On a seasonally adjusted basis, 294,000 claims were filed, compared to economists' prediction of 280,000. (Fox Business)
  3. Another day, another deal for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (NYSE:BMY).
  4. An eyebrow-raising bet on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) ahead of April options expiration.
  5. One more look at how Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Wall Street freshman Etsy (NASDAQ:ETSY) dominated headlines.
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:

For the sixth straight session, crude saw gains, as fighting in Yemen overshadowed an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) output report. At the close, May-dated crude rose $0.32, or 0.6%, to settle at $56.71 -- another 2015 high.

Gold endured a different fate. At the close, gold for June delivery was off $3.30, or 0.3%, at $1,198.00 per ounce.


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