Dow Jones Industrial Average Ushers in 2016 With Triple-Digit Loss

Should You Buy During Market Meltdowns?

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Jan 4, 2016 at 4:27 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) suffered its worst opening day since the financial crisis, as fears spiked after China's Shanghai Composite cratered overnight. While the Dow managed to close above the psychologically significant 17,000 level, and the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) maintained a hold atop the round 2,000 level, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (COMP) breached the 5,000 mark. Also stoking anxiety was the brewing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as downbeat data out of the manufacturing and construction sectors.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,148.94) was down by nearly 470 points and south of 17,000 at its intraday low, but pared its losses to 276.1 points, or 1.6% -- its worst opening session since 2008. Just three of the Dow's 30 components ended higher, led by a 0.3% gain at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). Of the 27 losers, DuPont (NYSE:DD) was worst off, plummeting 5.3%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,012.66) spent some time below 2,000, before closing above the millennium level -- despite a loss of 31.3 points, or 1.5%. By contrast, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,903.09) dropped 104.3 points, or 2.1% -- closing at its lowest point since Oct. 21, and below the round 5,000 area.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 20.70) spiked 2.5 points, or 13.7%, to close above the round-number 20 level for the first time since Dec. 18. 

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) made headlines today, announcing a $500 million investment in ride-sharing service Lyft, and plans for the firms to jointly develop a network of self-driving cars. In addition, the automaker announced CEO Mary Barra has been elected to serve as the company's chairman. (​Re/code; Bloomberg Business) 

  2. German automaker Volkswagen has been sued by the Department of Justice on four counts of violating the Clean Air Act, including tampering with emissions control systems. "We're alleging that they knew what they were doing, they intentionally violated the law and that the consequences were significant to health," said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden. (Reuters)

  3. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) served up yet another fresh low.

  4. From a contrarian perspective, Yahoo! Inc.'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) 2016 prospects look grim.

  5. While some China-based equities flirted with lows, this exchange-traded fund (ETF) soared.


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Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Crude futures were over 4% higher amid mounting tensions in the Middle East, before reversing lower amid a global stock sell-off and a reported inventory build at a key Oklahoma delivery hub. At the close, oil for February delivery was off 28 cents, or 0.8%, at $36.76 per barrel.

Gold jumped to a four-week high as spiking market volatility boosted the metal's safe-haven appeal. Specifically, February-dated gold added $15, or 1.4%, to settle at $1,075.20 per ounce.


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