Dow Jones Industrial Average Slips Ahead of Jobs Report; S&P 500 Outperforms

Apple's Rare Bullish Signal

Feb 2, 2017 at 4:23 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) traded in a tight 91-point range -- exploring both sides of breakeven -- as traders parsed over several geopolitical developments emerging out of D.C. and digested another solid jobs report ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls data. While the Dow couldn't keep its head above water -- even with a positive earnings reaction for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) -- and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) followed Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) post-earnings path lower, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) outperformed its peers, eking out a modest gain.
 
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
 

  • The skepticism that could help send social media stocks to higher highs.
  • What this rare bullish signal could mean for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
  • A low-risk options strategy for high-volatility stocks.
  • Plus, Macy's buyout rumors, one brokerage firm's worst day in eight years, and 3 healthcare stocks that made big moves.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA 19,884.91) shed 6 points, or 0.03%. The 14 Dow winners were led by MRK, which gained 3.3%. The 16 decliners were paced by Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT), which dropped 1.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 2,280.85) managed to eke out a gain of 1.3 points, or 0.06%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 5,636.20) ended down 6.5 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX – 11.93) added 0.1 point, or 1%.

Indexes closing summary February 2
NYSE and NASDAQ stats February 2

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Donald Trump said he would "totally destroy" the Johnson Amendment, which bars all tax-exempt nonprofits -- including religious institutions -- from donating to political activities and campaigns. Trump went on to say that he supports abolishing the amendment so that religious leaders can "speak freely and without fear of retribution." (The Washington Post)
  2. Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is being urged by some lawmakers to drop out of the race, as accusations of financial improprieties mar the candidate's campaign. Investigations by French authorities are currently underway, though Fillon denies any wrongdoing. (Reuters)
  3. The buyout rumors that sent Macy's Inc (NYSE:M) higher.
  4. After one rival cut trade commissions, this brokerage firm had its worst day in eight years.
  5. healthcare stocks that made big moves.

Quarterly Earnings February 2
Unusual Options Activity February 2


Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

March-dated crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.6%, to finish the day at $53.54 per barrel. Black gold made early gains as U.S.-Iran tensions mounted, but continued concerns over rising U.S. stockpiles eventually pushed crude oil lower for the day.

April-dated gold futures closed up $11.10, or 0.9%, at $1,219.40 per ounce -- its highest settlement since Nov. 16. The precious metal rose as increasing geopolitical anxiety heightened its safe-haven appeal.

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