Options Trading News

February 21, 2013  Thu 7:14 AM CT

Stocks are down this morning as negative headlines overseas add fuel to yesterday's bearish close.

S&P 500 futures are falling by about one-third of a percent, while most indexes in Europe are down by 1 percent to 2 percent. Similar losses occurred in Asia, led by a 3 percent decline in Shanghai.

Chinese authorities are cracking down on real-estate speculation, while European manufacturing data showed a greater-than-expected contraction in the region's manufacturing sector. Those news reports follow minutes from the Federal Reserve yesterday when some policymakers wanted to halt the policy of aggressive asset purchases in the United States. Housing data was also weaker than expected, triggering the biggest drop since mid-November.

Sentiment had been firmly bullish since the end of 2012, when politicians in Washington struck a deal to avert sharp tax increases. Equities drifted higher for the next six weeks as companies reported quarterly results and economic data showed steady improvement.

Those gains slowed more recently as the S&P 500 paused at a long-term resistance from late 2007. Treasury yields, which tend to follow share prices, have also reached levels where traders would logically expect a pause or reversal.

Investors also now face the potential return of political risk as lawmakers in the U.S. attempt to prevent spending cuts under so-called sequestration and as voters go to the polls in Italy this weekend.

Oil and copper, which track global economic sentiment, are down by more than 1.3 percent, agricultural foodstuffs are lower across the board. Foreign-exchange markets are showing a similar pattern of risk aversion, with the euro lower and the safe-haven Japanese yen higher across the board.

In company-specific news, retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is up slightly after a lower tax rates caused earnings to beat expectations. Construction and engineering firms Fluor and Quanta Services are both lower: FLR after revenue missed consensus and PWR on a weak outlook. Enterprise software company Pegasystems is up 20 percent on a strong report.
Share this article with your friends

Related Stories


Stocks inch higher before data

November 25, 2015

S&P 500 futures are up about 0.1 percent, while most of Europe is rallying more than 1 percent. Asia was mostly lower overnight.


Calendar is busy before holiday

November 25, 2015

Today's agenda is packed with data, including mortgage applications, jobless claims, durable goods, personal income and spending, consumer sentiment, and new home sales.


Stocks fall after Russian jet downed

November 24, 2015

S&P 500 futures are down 0.6 percent, while most of Europe has fallen more than 1 percent. Asian markets were little-changed.


GDP, consumer confidence on tap

November 24, 2015

The second reading on third-quarter GDP is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. ET. Forecasters anticipate growth of 2 percent, up from the previously reported 1.5 percent gain.


Stocks drift into busy week of data

November 23, 2015

S&P 500 futures are little-changed, while most of Europe is fractionally lower. Asia also posted small losses overnight. There's also significant volatility in oil.


Premium Services

Education & Strategy

The art of trading

As I stated in last week's article, a break out or a break down needs to have a couple things happen before it is considered a confirmed break out or break down. The only problem is that in today's market where things move much more quicker than they did just a few years ago, two days could wind up being the majority of the expected movement, if not the whole movement.

View more education articles »