Dow Jones Industrial Average Adds 125; Biotech Breaks Nasdaq

Clinton Tweet Sinks Biotech; Plus, The Story Behind Pandora's Halt

Sep 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM
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As oil rallied and Fed heads advocated for a 2015 rate hike, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) maintained a comfortable lead throughout the day, though the same can't be said for the Nasdaq Composite (COMP). A damning tweet from presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton sent biotech stocks into a tailspin, temporarily dragging the COMP into the red. Looking ahead to the rest of this week, Wall Street will hear more from Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart -- but that's just the prelude to a Thursday speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen

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

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 16,510.19) was up nearly 200 points -- and out of correction territory -- at its intraday peak, but settled with a still-respectable gain of 125.6 points, or 0.8%. Twenty-five of the Dow's 30 blue chips ended higher, led by Apple's 1.6% gain. Pharmaceutical stocks Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) took the biggest hits, dropping 2.2% and 1.3%, respectively, while Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) finished flat.

It was a similar setup for the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,966.97), which pared its lead to 8.9 points, or 0.5%, by the close. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,828.95) spent a healthy part of the session south of breakeven, dragged lower by biotechs, before eventually ending with a meager 1.7-point, or 0.04%, gain.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 20.14) continued its streak of above-20 closes, but remained south of the key 23.90 level. By the end of the day, the "fear gauge" was down 2.1 points, or 9.6%.

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Lockhart -- a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) -- said he is "confident the much-used phrase 'later this year' is still operative," as far as when the central bank will raise rates. The comments echoed those of fellow Fed heads John Williams, James Bullard, and Jeffrey Lacker.  (CNBC)
  2. Apple hopes to start shipping electric vehicles by 2019, sources say. Meanwhile, Volkswagen wiped out $18 billion in market value after giving environmental regulators the runaround. (MarketWatch)
  3. GoPro took it on the chin after a mega-bearish Barron's write-up.
  4. Soon-to-be-acquired Atmel Corporation (NASDAQ:ATML) might be breaking hearts in China.
  5. How weekly option traders are playing Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

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Commodities:

 

Crude oil bounced back with a vengeance today, amid expectations for a slowdown in production. In addition, oil followed gasoline futures higher after a refinery fire in Ohio. By the close, October-dated oil added $2, or 4.5%, to end at $46.68 per barrel.

A strengthening greenback pressured dollar-denominated gold. The December contract ended $5, or 0.4%, lower at $1,132.80 per ounce.

 

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