Dow Drops Again as Tax Bill Optimism Fades

The Dow wrapped up a two-day losing streak

Managing Editor
Dec 20, 2017 at 4:29 PM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) finished lower for the second straight session -- erasing a nearly triple-digit lead in early action. Both the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) joined the Dow in the red, as tech stocks such as Facebook (FB) extended their retreat from yesterday. While anticipation surrounding the Republican tax plan helped drive markets higher, the actual passing by Congress generated a subdued response from traders today. The legislation now awaits President Donald Trump's signature, though Gary Cohn, a top economic advisor to the White House, suggested it may not be signed until Congress votes on a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

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

  • For gold bugs, now may be the time to buy calls.
  • steel stocks with cheap options.
  • Short seller: This Chinese stock is "worthless."
  • Plus, Wendy's stock soars; Tesla's latest pullback; and UAL gets upgraded.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 24,726.65) finished 28.1 points, or 0.1%, lower. Cisco Systems (CSCO) led nine Dow stocks higher with its 1.1% win, while Walt Disney (DIS) paced the 21 decliners with its 1.9% loss.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,679.25) finished 2.2 points, or 0.08%, lower. The Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 6,960.96) lost 2.9 points, or 0.04%. 

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 9.72) lost 0.3 point, or 3.1%.

Closing Indexes Summary Dec 20

NYSE and Nasdaq Dec 20

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. Coinbase, one of the main cryptocurrency exchanges, is conducting an investigation into accusations of insider trading. The allegations came after bitcoin cash, a clone of bitcoin, rose sharply prior to Coinbase launching its trading. Bitcoin itself is down around 5% today. (Reuters)
  2. U.S. existing home sales rose more than expected in November. According to the National Association of Realtors, home sales jumped 5.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted 5.81 million units -- an 11-year high. (Reuters)
  3. Wendy's stock hit a fresh 10-year high today.
  4. Call traders are pouncing on struggling Tesla stock.
  5. United Continental stock took off after an analyst upgrade.

Corporate Earnings Chart Dec 20

Unusual Options Activity Dec 20
Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities

Crude slated for February delivery rose 53 cents, or 0.9%, to close at $58.09 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a greater-than-expected dip in U.S. crude oil inventories last week. 

February-dated gold futures added $5.40, or 0.4%, to settle at $1,269.60 an ounce. Boosting gold was a weaker dollar, which fell after Congress approved the GOP tax reform bill.

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