Market Wrap For Thursday, September 19: Markets Tick Down As Investors Prepare For Quadruple Witching
Equity markets trickled downward Thursday after yesterday’s big rally following the FOMC minutes. This sell-off came despite strong economic data.
Tomorrow a series of Federal Reserve members are speaking and its quadruple witching day, so be prepared for some crazy trading!
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 40.39 points, or 0.26 percent, to close at 15,636.55.
The S&P 500 dropped 3.18 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,722.34.
The Nasdaq Composite rose 5.74 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 3,789.38.
The Russell 3000 sold off 1.58 points, or 0.15 percent.
Existing Home Sales
Existing home sales for the month of August came in much better than expected. Economists predicted a 2.6 percent month over month drop but sales actually rose 1.7 percent to 5.48 million.
Both initial and continuing claims beat analyst estimates. Initial jobless claims for the week ended September 14th were 309,000 with continuing claims for the week ended September seventh at 2.79 million.
GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) jumped 10.6 percent to $8.35. UBS upgraded the stock from Neutral to Buy.
Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) was also on the rise, gaining 9.09 percent to $12.60 after it received an upgrade from Hold to Buy at Stifel, while being given a $16 price target. The report focused on Groupon's growth in its local business, mobile commerce, and new strength in its management team.
Popular (NASDAQ: BPOP) shares tumbled 7.05 percent to $27.04 after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock from Equal-weight to Underweight.
Fleetmatics (NYSE: FLTX) fell 15.7 percent to $38.39 after a Seeking Alpha article accused the company of inflating its numbers in its financial statements.
Crude oil took a huge hit day and is now almost seven percent lower than the $116 highs seen just a couple weeks ago. At last check, NYMEX crude was down 1.73 percent to $106.20 while Brent contracts had lost 1.78 percent to $108.63. Natural gas was down just one cent at last check.
Precious metals followed up yesterday’s gains by jumping even higher. Nearing the close of equities, COMEX gold futures had risen 4.66 percent to $1,368.50 and silver futures were up 7.7 percent to $23.23. Copper also rose two percent on the day.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX fell again on Thursday after the Fed’s announcement. At last check the volatility measure was down 2.65 percent to 13.23.
Volume was especially high today with sharp market movements. Around 141 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY) shares traded hands on the session compared to a ten day average of 108 million.
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 0.09 percent to $21.67 after yesterday’s drop when the Federal Reserve announced it would dump more money in the economy.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading up 0.07 percent to $1.3530. The USD/JPY couple was up 1.5 percent on the day to $1.47 along with the EUR/JPY up 1.58 percent.
Asian markets were up overnight. The Shanghai index fell rose 0.29 percent with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.67 percent. Japan’s volatile Nikkei moved up just 1.8 percent on the day.
European markets recorded gains for the day. The Euro Stoxx index, which tracks 50 euro zone blue chips rallied 0.94 percent. London’s FTSE added 1.01 percent, and France’s CAC gained 0.85 percent.
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