Despite a couple of good economic data points this morning (both retail sales results and the weekly jobless claims number were better than expected), and a soft rally in early morning trading, the bears took control of the session and sent stocks decisively into negative territory. The bulls never really put up much of a fight as stocks continued to slide throughout the day, almost in a straight line. The main reasons given for the decline in stocks today were weakening growth in China and the continued discomfort with the Ukraine situation.
By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 231 points to finish the day at 16,108. The S&P 500 was down 21 points to close at 1846. Gold was up $1 to trade at $1372 per ounce, while oil was up $.29 to trade at $98.28 per barrel WTI. Some minor technical damage was done to the S&P, but we’ll see if the bears can follow up tomorrow.
As we get close to the end of the first quarter of the year, it is becoming obvious that 2014 is quite different than 2013. No, the bears have not been able to inflict any real damage, but the bulls seem tentative and volatility is definitely back in the equation. After the move we had last year, it’s not surprising that the tone would change, and the first 10 weeks of the year are confirming it. Let’s see how the week ends tomorrow.
Have a nice evening everyone.