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Friday, July 16, 2010

WALL ST. >>> Dow Erases Triple-Digit Drop

Turnaround Thursday: Triple-Digit Tumble Vanishes
Wall Street enjoyed a wave of late-day buying on Thursday to erase a triple-digit selloff as enthusiasm over possible resolutions to the headaches at BP and Goldman Sachs largely overshadowed economic jitters triggered by a pair of gloomy manufacturing reports.
The financial sector was in focus today, thanks to the latest earnings report from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM). The banking titan topped analysts' second-quarter profit expectations, but cautious comments from CEO Jamie Dimon about JPM's troubled consumer-lending portfolio threw a damper on the upbeat results. Meanwhile, in economic news, traders weighed a steep decline in weekly jobless claims against weak manufacturing data in the New York and Philadelphia regions. After seven straight days of gains for the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- and with heavy hitters Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), General Electric (GE), and Google (GOOG) on deck to report earnings -- the market was rocked by an energetic bout of profit-taking. However, last-minute rumors that Goldman Sachs (GS) reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awakened the bulls, and stocks pared most of their losses by the close.

"Wow. That was fun, but in the end we were virtually flat," said Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick. "Still, you have to give the bulls the benefit of the doubt. Earnings have been good -- and coming on the heels of the best week in months last week, we're up again this week. Not bad."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 10,359.31) was down more than 100 points at its intraday nadir, but battled back to finish on a decline of just 7.4 points, or 0.07%. Eighteen of the 30 blue chips advanced, led by Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Intel (INTC), while Travelers Companies (TRV) paced the 10 decliners. IBM (IBM) and Kraft Foods (KFT) split the difference by finishing flat. Despite today's less-than-stellar action, the Dow still notched a third straight daily finish above its 50-day moving average.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,096.48), on the other hand, managed to close the day slightly higher. The SPX added 1.3 points, or 0.1%, but its momentum was capped by the 1,100 level -- not to mention the sound of the closing bell. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,249.08) barely budged, shedding just 0.8 point by the close. Nevertheless, the COMP tackled its own 50-day trendline for the first time since May 12.

Crude futures followed suit with stocks today, ending with a thump in the wake of troubling economic news. Traders panned uninspiring manufacturing reports from the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Banks, and news of China's year-over-year decline in second-quarter gross domestic product only served to heighten concerns about the state of the global economy. However, crude's losses were minimized by the day's not-so-bad report on jobless claims, along with the U.S. dollar's weak showing versus the euro. Crude oil for August delivery gave up 42 cents, or 0.6%, to finish at $76.62 per barrel.

On the other hand, gold futures capitalized on the market's jittery mood. A negative session for stocks, along with the greenback's decline against the euro, helped the malleable metal attract a few buyers today. Gains were muted, though, as traders seemed unwilling to make any big moves ahead of tomorrow's report on consumer-level inflation. August-dated gold futures ended the day with a gain of $1.30 at $1,208.30 per ounce.

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