Stocks Reverse Early Gains as VIX Surges

Gold closed at its highest point since early September

Managing Editor
Jan 16, 2018 at 4:32 PM
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U.S. stocks were off to the races this morning, with the Dow topping 26,000 for the first time ever. However, the index's triple-digit gain briefly turned into a triple-digit deficit in afternoon trading, with the DJI ultimately finishing just below breakeven. Concerns about a General Electric (GE) breakup and a government shutdown weighed on blue chips, overshadowing a strong day for healthcare stocks. The S&P and Nasdaq also retreated from new record highs, while the VIX -- or the stock market's "fear gauge" -- surged to its highest close in weeks, marking its biggest daily percentage gain since September.

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

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 25,792.86) took a hit and lost 10.3 points, or 0.04%, after exploring a range of 383 points on both sides of breakeven. The index did manage to peak at 26,086.12, however. Merck (MRK) led the 12 advancing blue chips with a 5.8% gain, while GE paced the losers with a 2.9% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,776.42) shed 9.8 points, or 0.4%, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,223.69) lost 37.38 points, or 0.5%. The indexes reached all-time peaks of 2,807.54 and 7,330.33, respectively, before turning lower.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.66) managed to pick up 1.5 point, or 14.8%, for the day, after briefly moving north of 12 for the first time since Dec. 1. It was the VIX's biggest one-day percentage gain since Sept. 5.

closing indexes summary january 16

nyse and nasdaq stats january 16

5 Items on Our Radar Today

  1. H&R Block's (HRB) shares edged higher, after the tax software provider and Walmart (WMT) announced an exclusive partnership earlier today. The blue-chip retailer will now only sell H&R Block tax software at its thousands of nationwide stores, as well as online. (CNBC)
  2. Another merger is in the works with candy maker Nestle, which agreed to sell its U.S. candy business to Italian food concern and Nutella producer Ferrero for $2.8 billion. Nestle said it's striving to become more health conscious, and its U.S. confectionery unit has struggled for market share. (Reuters
  3.  Deutsche Bank sees more upside for these steel stocks.
  4.  Buy premium on this bank stock ahead of earnings.
  5.  LEAPS bears may want to consider this chip stock.

corporate earnings january 16

unusual options activity january 16

Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Gold Marks Highest Close Since September

February-dated oil backpedaled from three-year highs today, as speculators took profits. As such, oil futures ended the day 57 cents, or 0.9%, lower, settling at $63.73 per barrel. 

Gold had a great day on the charts, finishing at its highest close since early September, despite the U.S. dollar's push to end its recent decline. February-dated gold futures finished $2.20, or 0.2%, higher, to end at $1,337.10 per ounce.


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