Dow Jones Industrial Average Surrenders 157 on Wal-Mart Warning, Beige Book

3 Wildly Swinging Biotechs; Plus, Big Earnings on Tap

by Karee Venema

Published on Oct 14, 2015 at 4:31 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) took a turn for the worse today -- losing its short-term foothold atop 17,000 -- under intense pressure from blue chips Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) and Boeing Co (NYSE:BA). In addition to WMT's chilly guidance -- which sent the retailer to new lows -- traders were spooked by the Fed's Beige Book, which indicated a stronger greenback is stifling economic growth. The risk-off bias spread to other areas of the Street, as well, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) surrendering its perch atop the psychologically significant 2,000 mark. Looking ahead, there's plenty more on the corporate calendar to keep the volatility going, with earnings from a handful of Dow components and a number of financial firms still on tap.

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

  • For evidence of the wild biotech ride, look no further than these 3 stocks.
  • A new partnership for TripAdvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP) and Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) sent one stock soaring 25%.
  • The trio of notable names that could see big post-earnings moves tomorrow.
  • Plus ... The U.S. economy taps the brakes, the devastating catalyst behind Zafgen Inc's (NASDQ:ZFGN) roller coaster, and the takeover chatter circling semiconductors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 16,924.75) spent nearly the entire session in the red, eventually succumbing to a 157.1-point, or 0.9%, loss. Nineteen of the Dow's 30 components closed lower, led by a 10% plunge for WMT. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) paced the 11 advancers with its 2.4% pop.
 
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,994.24) gave back 9.5 points, or 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,782.85) fared the best of its peers -- losing 13.8 points, or 0.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 18.03) added 0.4 point, or 2%, to settle above 18 for the first time since Oct. 7.


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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Just one day after a pair of Fed officials took differing views on the possibility of a 2015 rate hike, data signaled softness in the U.S. economy. Specifically, retail sales rose a slim 0.1% in September, while August's figures were downwardly revised to reflect a flat reading. Additionally, the producer price index declined by its largest margin since January last month. Separately, the Fed's Beige Book suggested modest economic expansion, but manufacturing was "generally sluggish" due to a stronger dollar. (Reuters; CNBC)
  2. ZFGN said that a patient enrolled in its late-stage obesity drug study has died, and it is working with the Food and Drug Administration to determine the exact cause. The stock had lost more than half its value this week -- and hit a record low of $10.90 earlier -- but bounced back to settle the session up 24%. (Reuters)
  3. Speculation that SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) could be putting itself up for sale sent the stock soaring -- and option traders flocking to rumored suitor Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU).
  4. Analysts took decidedly different stances on fellow energy names Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) and Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG).
  5. Is NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA) headed for higher highs? One option trader thinks so.

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Commodities:

Crude oil finished slightly lower today, ahead of tomorrow's weekly inventories update. At the close, crude for November delivery was down 2 cents at $46.64 per barrel.

Gold, meanwhile, got a boost from a cooling greenback and safe-haven demand. By session's send, December-dated gold was up $14.40, or 1.2%, at $1,179.80 per ounce -- its highest close since June 22.


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