Market Wrap for Thursday, January 24: Major Averages End Mixed as Apple Drags Down Nasdaq
Stocks were mixed on Thursday as a disappointing earnings report from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) dragged the Nasdaq down while the Dow gained.
With earnings season in high gear, a number of other notable names were active on Thursday including Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Nokia (NYSE: NOK). The Nasdaq recorded moderate losses on the session while the S&P was flat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a gain of 46 points, or 0.33 percent, to 13,825.
The S&P 500, a broad measure of the U.S. stock market, was flat on the day closing at 1,495.
The Nasdaq fell more than 23 points or 0.74 percent to 3,130 on the back of a more than 12 percent loss in Apple.
Initial and continuing jobless claims were on the economic docket for Thursday and both reports showed a strengthening job market. For the week ending January 19, initial jobless claims fell to 330,000 from 335,000 the week prior. This was the lowest level of weekly jobless claims since January 2008. Economists had expected that the number would rise to 355,000.
Continuing claims fell from an upwardly revised 3.228 million for the week ending January 5 to 3.157 million for the week ending January 12. This compared to consensus expectations of a drop in claims to 3.200 million.
The Conference Board's Index of Leading Indicators rose 0.5 percent in December. This was in-line with consensus estimates. The reading was unchanged in November, with results being effected by a temporary spike in initial claims triggered by Hurricane Sandy.
Crude oil futures rose on Thursday. NYMEX crude futures, the U.S. benchmark, had added 0.93 percent to $96.12 at last check. Brent futures were up 0.40 percent to $113.24. Meanwhile, natural gas futures fell 2.70 percent to $3.46.
Precious metals recorded moderate losses on the day. At last check, COMEX gold futures had shed 1.11 percent to $1,667.60 while silver was trading down 2.31 percent to $31.69. Copper lost 0.18 percent.
Corn and wheat were mixed on the day with corn climbing 0.49 percent and wheat falling 0.81 percent. Significant movers in soft commodities included orange juice concentrate contracts which fell roughly 2 percent and cotton which was up 3 percent.
Late in the day, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE: TLT) was trading down 0.31 percent to $119.72.
A drop in bond prices pushed yields higher in the middle and at the long-end of the curve. While the 2-Year yield was flat, the 5-Year rose 2 basis points to 0.76 percent.
The 10-Year Note and 30-Year Bond Yield were both up 3 basis points to 1.85 percent and 3.04 percent, respectively.
Near the close, the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (NYSE: UUP), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of foreign currencies, was up 0.05 percent to $21.84.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair climbed 0.44 percent and was last trading at $1.3372. The Yen fell sharply against the U.S. dollar again on Thursday with the USD/JPY adding nearly 1.60 percent.
The Australian dollar was also weak against the greenback with the AUD/USD pair falling 0.64 percent.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX was higher for the third straight day despite a market that is moving higher. Nevertheless, the widely watched fear gauge remains near 52-week levels. The VIX climbed 2.41 percent to close at 12.76 on the session.
Volume remains light despite earnings season. Around 115 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares traded hands on the day compared to a 3-month daily average of roughly 137.5 million.
The primary focus of investors right now is earnings season, and a number of stocks made big moves after releasing their quarterly reports.
Shares of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) fell more than 12 percent after disappointing Q1 sales numbers and a weak Q2 revenue outlook. Apple closed at $450.50.
Netflix exploded more than 42 percent higher to close at $147.00 after a particularly strong earnings report.
Nokia lost more than 8 percent after releasing its quarterly earnings results.
Rare-earth miner Molycorp (NYSE: MCP) lost more than 10 percent on Thursday after guiding for lower than expected revenue and cash flow for fiscal 2013.
Online media company Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO) surged more than 24 percent after reporting its quarterly earnings.
Driller Noble (NYSE: NE) fell 6 percent after disappointing earnings.
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) rose 2 percent after acquiring a text-to-speech company.
Chip-maker Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ: CRUS), which derives a significant portion of its revenue from Apple, lost almost 11 percent on the session.
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