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Stocks are down: Russia to blame again?

After the Open… All major indices are lower in morning trading, though Retail Sales for August came in up 0.6%, which was near the high estimate. The issue seems to be yet another round of sanctions against Russia. Problems have gone beyond the oil and gas industry, as the contracting Russian economy has negatively affected American auto companies, and Russia is closing down hundreds of McDonald's (MCD) Restaurants.

Here are your Friday morning market metrics. Industries doing well today include Distributors, Personal Products and Banks. Industries showing weakness include Energy Equipment, REITs and Building Products.

The VIX is up 4.5% to 13.38 after closing on Thursday at 12.80. Bank of America (BAC) options are being actively traded today, with 20,682 January 20 calls changing hands, mostly initiated (apparently) as buys. The put-call volume ratio is 0.83, (341,358/282,039). NYSE Adv/Dec 733/2,141. Nasdaq Adv/Dec 934/1,343. 

Julian Close has been a business writer since the first day of the twenty-first century, having written for PRA International and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. He became a stockbroker in 1993, but now works for Fresh Brewed Media and uses his powers only for good. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC.

Julian Close

Julian Close became a stockbroker in 1995. In his 20 years of market experience, he has seen all market conditions and written about every aspect of investing. Julian has also written extensively on corporate best practices and even written reports for the United Nations. He graduated from Davidson College in 1993 and received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin College in 2011. You can see closing trades for all Julian's long and short positions and track his long term performance via twitter: @JulianClose_MIC.