Dow Jones Industrial Average Takes a Breather as Bank, Drug Stocks Drag

3 Biotechs That Blasted Off

Dec 21, 2016 at 4:32 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) explored its tightest intraday trading range on a percentage basis since July 2014 -- once again coming up just short of the highly watched 20,000 level. Ahead of the long Christmas weekend, existing home sales in November jumped to the highest point in almost a decade and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) delivered a solid earnings report. On the other hand, an unexpected rise in domestic crude inventories pressured oil prices. And, as bank and drug stocks lagged, the Dow, S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) all closed lower. 
 
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 19,941.96) traded in a 44.5-point trading range, eventually dropping 32.7 points, or 0.2%. Just eight blue chips finished in the black. Leading the way was NKE's 1% gain, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) closed flat, and Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) posted the biggest loss of 1.8%. 

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,265.18) closed down 5.6 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 5,471.43) also fell short of breakeven, giving back 12.5 points, or 0.2%. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.27) fell 0.2 point, or 1.6%, to settle at its lowest level since July 16, 2014. 

Indexes closing summary December 21
NYSE and Nasdaq December 21

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Nintendo's first-ever smartphone game, "Super Mario Run," just set an app store record. Specifically, the game was downloaded more than 40 million times in under four days. (USA Today)
  2. Authorities in Germany are searching for a man from Tunisia they believe drove the truck that killed 12 people at a Berlin Christmas market. A reward of $104,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest. (Reuters)
  3. Why Nokia Corp (ADR) (NYSE:NOK) is taking Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to court.
  4. The sentiment sign that suggests Cal-Maine Foods Inc (NASDAQ:CALM) could surge post-earnings
  5.  The downbeat drug news that sank this biotech. 

Quarterly earnings December 21
Unusual options activity December 21
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Oil prices took a hit today, as domestic crude inventories rose more than expected. February-dated crude futures fell 81 cents, or 1.5%, to $52.49 per barrel. 

Gold prices also cooled today, despite a weakening dollar. Gold dated for February delivery dropped 40 cents to close at $1,133.20 per ounce. 

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