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U.S. stocks endured a widespread retreat Thursday, with the major equity averages falling back into a recent "comfort" range amid mixed economic news and concerns over rising interest rates. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 80 points to close at 10,754, while the NASDAQ composite index slid 26 points to 2,061 and the S&P 500 index ended down 9 points at 1,200.

Analysts said investors were worried about the strength of the economy, the pace of inflation and the future cost of borrowing, the latter of which historically has a significant effect on share values. Despite the bearish activity, our portfolio performed relatively well and there were no major surprises. Among the bullish positions, only Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO) showed notable weakness, falling 2% to $36.86, while LM Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERICY) led the bearish group lower with a plunge to $28.10 in after-hours trading.

Looking forward to Friday, we expect no unusual events in the MCM portfolio as the February positions expire. However, we will be watching the activity of the broader industry groups to confirm a short-term, technical "top" in the equity markets. Then we can look for some new spread plays with a bit more confidence as to the direction of stocks in the coming month.

MCM Staff

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