Fed Minutes Spark Volatile Day for Dow Jones Industrial Average

Can Wal-Mart Dodge the Earnings Rabbit Hole? Plus, 2 Red-Hot Medical Tech Stocks

May 18, 2016 at 4:30 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) had a tumultuous day, exploring a range of more than 200 points on both sides of breakeven. The DJIA muscled to a triple-digit gain just after midday, thanks in part to big pre-Fed moves in the financial sector. However, the afternoon release of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) hawkish meeting minutes fueled expectations for a June rate hike, sending the Dow into the red. 

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 17,526.62) spanned a 200-point range over the course of the day, but finished a mere 3.4 points, or 0.02%, lower. Of the 17 declining Dow components, WMT was the biggest loser, down 3%, while JPM led the blue-chip winners with a 3.9% gain. 

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,047.63) inched up 0.4 point, or 0.02%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,739.12) added 23.4 points, or 0.5%, easily outperforming its peers.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.95) added 0.4 point, or 2.4%, to notch its highest close since May 4.

Indexes Closing Summary May 18

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats May 18


5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. According to the Fed's meeting minutes, a June interest rate hike is "likely" in the cards, assuming "incoming data [is] consistent with economic growth picking up in the second quarter," the job market continues to improve, and inflation keeps creeping toward the central bank's 2% target. (CNBC)

  2. The Labor Department finalized a controversial new overtime law, stipulating employees who make less than $47,476 per year be compensated for more than 40 hours worked each week, to "make sure millions of Americans' hard work is rewarded." (MarketWatch)

  3. Mazor Robotics Ltd - ADR (NASDAQ:MZOR) CEO said he believed this new partnership will lead to a "new standard of care in spinal surgeries."

  4. Goldman Sachs upgraded this children's retailer.

  5. This new FDA-approved dog drug sent one stock soaring.

Quarterly Earnings May 18

Unusual Options Volume May 18
Data courtesy of
Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Oil prices plunged following the release of FOMC meeting minutes, giving up early gains inspired by a bigger-than-expected decline in gasoline supplies. June-dated crude futures ended down 12 cents, or 0.3%, at $48.19 per barrel.

June-dated gold lost 0.2%, or $2.50, to finish at $1,274.70 per ounce. The precious metal's plunge continued following the Fed minutes, with the front-month contract breaching $1,265 an ounce in electronic trading. .

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