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Interest rate possibilities keep markets unsettled

Stocks are below the break-even mark at mid-morning Thursday after some better-than-expected economic data sparked new concerns about the future path of interest rates. New claims for unemployment came in at a level not seen since 1969. Personal incomes and spending increased, while the Institute for Supply Management showed expansion in the manufacturing sector.

At present, the S&P 500 is down 0.02%, the DJIA is up 0.01%, and the NASDAQ is down 0.16%.

Industries doing well today include Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers, Air Freight & Logistics, and Road & Rail. Industries showing weakness include Multiline Retail, Auto Components, and Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components. The VIX is up 1.16 to 21.01 after closing yesterday at 19.85. The most heavily traded options this morning are for the SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF (SPY), with 15,492 Mar. 16 255 puts on the board. The total put/call ratio as of 10:00 AM was 0.98 (388,241/396,071). The advancers/decliners ratio for NYSE stocks is 1,540/1,327, while the advancers/decliners ratio for NASDAQ stocks is 1,409/1,432.

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Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.