Dow Jones Industrial Average Turns Tail; Biotech Takes Down Nasdaq

Is Weight Watchers Due for a Diet?

by Andrea Kramer

Published on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:21 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was up nearly 100 points at its session peak, but turned lower in late trading, as well-received earnings from Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) weren't enough to keep the blue-chip barometer afloat. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fared even worse, with energy stocks dropping in step with crude, and a major pharmaceutical scandal weighing on biotechs.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,168.61) was up almost 98 points in early afternoon action, but an eleventh-hour swoon sent the index to a loss of 48.5 points, or 0.3%, by the close. Just 12 of the Dow's 30 components ended higher, with United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) once again shining the brightest, up 2.5%. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) paced the 18 losers, falling 3.1%. 
 
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,018.94) also traded on both sides of breakeven, but a late-day retreat pushed the index 11.8 points, or 0.6%, lower. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,840.12) spent most of the day in the red, giving up 40.9 points, or 0.8%, by the closing bell.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.70) enjoyed a late-session rally, adding 1 point, or 6%, to end north of 16 for the first session in four.


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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Vice President Joe Biden announced he will not join the race for the presidency. After months of speculation about his plans, the public finally heard Biden's decision, for which he cited the death of his son, Beau, this past May. (CNBC)
  2. Activist investor Carl Icahn said he's forming a super PAC to push for corporate tax reform. The billionaire vowed to invest $150 million of his own money, which "will be more than enough to make voters fully aware of the horrible consequences that will ensue if Congress fails to pass legislation immediately to stop these 'inversions," he said, referring to companies leaving the U.S. for lower tax rates. (CNBC)
  3. Options buyers took a bullish stance as eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) prepares to report third-quarter earnings
  4. Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ:SNTA) was among the hardest-hit healthcare stocks, after dumping a late-stage drug trial
  5. A major unit of Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) announced a round of job cuts.

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Commodities:

Oil futures dropped, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a much bigger-than-expected uptick in supplies. Meanwhile, traders are watching a special meeting of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members in Vienna. After touching a three-week low in intraday trading, crude for December delivery finished the day down $1.09, or 2.4%, at $45.20 per barrel.

Gold backpedaled ahead of tomorrow's European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, as the greenback pared recent losses. By the close, December-dated gold shed $10.40, or 0.9%, to dock at $1,167.10 an ounce.


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