Stocks Mixed As Bulls Disappear in Last-Minute Sell-Off

Steven Bobson, Europe & Americas Editor
September 23, 2012 /

“With almost no earnings and little economic data, the market didn’t have too much to digest,” remarked Schaeffer’s Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell.

“After last week’s QE3 announcement and market surge, it was pretty obvious that we were overbought on a short-term basis. Well, we got the breather and the market pretty much grinded sideways each and every day this week.”

Though the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) couldn’t maintain its positive momentum today, the index still recorded its seventh straight settlement atop 13,500.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,579.47) was in positive territory for most of the day, but fell below breakeven in the last 20 minutes of trading. The blue-chip barometer backpedaled 17.5 points, or 0.1%, by the time the dust cleared. Of the Dow’s 30 components, The Coca-Cola Company (KO) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) paced the 17 laggards with losses of 1.6% and 1.3%, respectively.

On the other hand, McDonald’s Corporation (MCD) led the 13 winning issues with a 0.6% increase. Today’s late-day sell-off pulled the Dow to a 0.1% loss for the week.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,460.15) started off the day modestly higher, but slowly backpedaled into the red. By the close, the SPX found itself fractionally lower, and turned in a weekly deficit of 0.4%.

After tagging a near 12-year best at the 3,196.93 mark this morning, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,179.96) mirrored the action of its fellow benchmarks, but maintained a 4-point, or 0.1%, gain for the day. For the week, however, the tech-rich COMP gave up 0.1%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 13.98) slipped 0.6%. On the week, the market’s fear gauge retreated 3.7%.

“The end is finally here and we can finally pull the plug on this comatose week of market action,” said Bell. “We are still a couple of weeks away from earnings season, but we may start to see some warnings and pre-announcements coming next week.”

Oil futures turned higher today, as some investors were looking for deals after a lackluster week for the commodity. As the U.S. dollar took a dip, November-dated crude gained 47 cents, or 0.5%, to close at $92.89 a barrel. Crude notched a weekly loss of 6.2%.

The weaker greenback also buoyed gold futures , as did news that economically strapped Spain is closer to solidifying a bailout from the European Union. Against this backdrop, gold for December delivery tacked on $7.80, or 0.4%, to end at $1,778 an ounce — its highest settlement since Feb. 28. The malleable metal also enjoyed a fifth consecutive weekly win, thanks to a 0.3% rise over the past five sessions.


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