Dow Jones Industrial Average Claws Higher After FOMC Minutes

What the Quietest S&P in 2 Years Means for Markets

Aug 17, 2016 at 4:30 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended a roller-coaster session higher, bouncing back from a deficit of more than 80 points. Initial interest-rate uncertainty and lower crude oil prices weighed on stocks throughout the morning, but the major indexes clawed higher after the release of July's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes. While the minutes did not clearly indicate the timing of the next rate hike, they revealed a general sense of caution, with Federal Reserve officials awaiting more economic data before making changes to monetary policy. Meanwhile, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard called for a gradual rise in interest rates, just a day after more hawkish comments from a pair of Fed officials

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 18,573.94) added 21.9 points, or 0.1%, with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) leading 21 of the large-cap components higher on a 1% gain. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) was the leading laggard, shedding 1.3% ahead of earnings and amid job-cut speculation.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,182.22) climbed 4.1 points, or 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,228.66) just eked out a win, gaining 1.6 points, or 0.03%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.19) slid 0.5 point, or 3.6%. 

indexes closing summary august 17

nyse and nasdaq stats august 17

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Last month's FOMC meeting minutes showed that Fed officials were split on whether they believed a rate hike was needed in the near future, but the consensus was "before taking another step in removing monetary accommodation, it was prudent to accumulate more data in order to gauge the underlying momentum in the labor market and economic activity." These relatively dovish notes came just after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard spoke of a "new narrative," which would include a more gradual rise in interest rates. (Bloomberg; MarketWatch)
  2. Restaurant interest Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) rallied through the afternoon on news the company responded to a letter from hedge fund Marcato Capital Management calling for a significant C-suite shake-up. The company said it will "carefully consider" the letter, which noted the potential for BWLD's stock price to triple in the wake of "substantial changes" like the "introduction of fresh talent." (Reuters via CNBC)
  3. The acquisition news that kept Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) popping for a second day.
  4. How are options traders playing this solar stock ahead of tomorrow's earnings?
  5. The M&A chatter that had call players rushing to T-Mobile US Inc's (NASDAQ:TMUS) options pits.

quarterly earnings august 17

unusual options activity august 17
Data courtesy of


After starting the session lower, oil prices rallied back into positive territory by the close. Crude oil for September added 21 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $46.79 per barrel, with easing oversupply worries boosting the commodity after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected drop in domestic stockpiles for the week.

Gold slumped early today, with December-dated gold ending down $8.10, or 0.6%, at $1,348.80 an ounce. However, the malleable metal turned higher in after-hours action, following the mixed FOMC meeting minutes.

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