Markets Close Mixed Ahead Of Jobs Report - Markets This Morning

  • The day started lower, but a late day rally brought the averages close to break-even
  • Biotechs regained some ground lost earlier in the week
  • Worries about Russia and Joaquin

Spooked by news out of Syria, traders spent most of the day in sharply negative territory before a late-day rally brought them near to break-even.

For the day the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX:INDU) finished down, but only by a little bit -- .08% or 12.69, settling at 16,272. The Nasdaq Composite (INDEX:COMPX) managed to gain .15%, 6.92, to 4,627, and the S&P 500 (INDEX:SPAL) had the best day, rising .20% or 3.79 to 1,924.

The Syria news had Russian air strikes going after, not the ISIS militants as promised, but U.S.-backed groups fighting President Bashar al Assad. It led to a great deal of anti-Russian rhetoric from politicians, but did little for the price of oil, which actually fell, by 11 cents per barrel in the case of West Texas Intermediate, to $44.98, and 44 cents, nearly 1%, to $47.93 in the case of Brent.

Undoing the Last Move

Traders seemed to believe that some of the panicked selling over Hillary Clinton’s threats to re-regulate drug prices were overdone, so companies hit hardest by those reports continued to come back.

Allergan (NYSE:AGN) rose steadily throughout the day, finishing up 3.88% or 10.54 to finish at $288.35. That’s still short of its price a week ago, but only by about $7/share. At one point on Tuesday it was down below $247. Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) had a similar day, rising 4.69% or $4.34 to $112.86.

Other biotechs floated up more slowly. Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) was up 1.38%, or $1.91, to $140.23, AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV)was up 1.32%, 72 cents, to $55.13, and Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX), another big victim of the last week’s sell-off, rose 2.92% or $1.16 to $40.95.

Apple’s Strange Day

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) had one of the strangest days of any company in the market. There has been little recent news, and the shares trade at a below-market Price/Earnings multiple of 12.66, but they still can’t get out of their own way. Yesterday they started lower, fell steadily until 11 AM, and then slowly came back. The final trades, at $109.58 were still down on the day, but only by 72 cents or .65%. Since joining the Dow Jones 30 in March, Apple is down almost 15%.

Other technology stocks traded on the NASDAQ had it easier. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) was down most of the day but finished up .81%, or 36 cents, to finish at $44.62. Since Apple joined the Dow, Microsoft stock has outperformed it dramatically, up nearly 8% in that time.

The new Apple, if by that you mean a stock that won’t fall down, is Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), which again defied gravity by rising 1.72%, or $8.83, and finishing at $520.72. It seems to have been joined in the winners’ circle by Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which again was up 2.63%, or $2.72, to finish at $105.98. This was despite Amazon making a big-money deal with CBS (NYSE:CBS), getting exclusive access to some of its content. 

The Day Started So Well

The day started in Asia with rising tides. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.92%, China’s Shanghai index was up .48%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.39, with Mumbai’s Sensex rising .25%.

But it all went pear-shaped as the action moved to Europe, possibly because the area is more heavily impacted by events in the Middle East. The German DAX fell 1.57% and the French CAC-40 finished down .65%, but the English FTSE 100 eked out a modest gain of .18%, the action mirroring Wall Street’s own.

So What Happens In The Markets This Morning?

America’s east coast will likely be heavily impacted by Hurricane Joaquin, which at this writing was still sitting, and growing, in the Bahamas but was expected to head north, either striking North Carolina or, possibly, going out to sea. The area is still due for a drenching and that may well mean fewer traders on the floor today, and less volatility. And of course the US Jobs report will be out today. Which would mean a wary market till the report is out. And after that, it will depend on what the report has to say.

For a quick roundup of key news and events before the bell, check the daily news section - Markets This Morning.

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