Stock index futures take hit, nuclear crisis rises

Nasdaq Composite (Figure 3)

The U.S. indices gapped lower into Tuesday morning and continued to head south for the first 90 minutes of trade with two waves of selling on the 5 minute time frame. This was similar to the selloff afterhours on Monday and aided in establishing support at the 11:00 a.m. ET correction period.

The pace of the selloff prevented the market from establishing a rapid recovery off morning lows, but the indices did hold the lows established between 10:50-11:15 a.m. ET and steadily recovered throughout mid-day before turning slightly lower into the second half of the afternoon. The selloff around 14:15 ET also had two waves of downside, but did not break the morning lows before bouncing back in the final 30 minutes of trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) had a loss of 117.53 points, or 0.95%, and closed at 12,263.58 on Tuesday. Seven of the Dow's thirty index components posted a gain. The top performers were WalMart (WMT) (+1.33%), Procter & Gamble (PG) (+1.13%), and McDonalds (MCD) (+0.54%). Alcoa (AA) was the weakest component in the Dow Monday afternoon's earnings announcement. Other top decliners were Chevron (CVX) (-3.34%), Exxon Mobil (XOM) (-2.33%), and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) (-2.29%). After Alcoa (AA), energy shares were hard-hit as crude-oil futures fell $3.67 to $106.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange for May delivery. This was the largest one-day drop in weeks.

The S&P 500 ($SPX) fell 10.30 points, or 0.78%, and closed at 1,314.16. The strongest individual performer in the index was Tyco International (TYC) (+7.41%). Other top gainers were PPL Corp. (PPL) (+4.63%), Monsanto Co. (MON) (+3.10%), Edison Intl. (EIX) (+3.07%), and Monster Worldwide (MWW) (+2.85%). The weakest performers were Alcoa (AA) (-6.02%), Teradyne Inc. (TER) (5.04%), Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) (-5.02%), and Nabors Industries (NBR) (-4.60%).

The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) ended the session lower by 26.72 points, or 0.96%, on Tuesday and it closed at 2,744.79. Only one-fifth of the index components in the Nasdaq-100 posted a gain. The top performers were Netflix (NFLX) (+2.52%), Seagate Technologies (STX) (+2.29%), Verisign (VRSN) (+2.11%), Netapp Inc. (NTAP) (+1.49%), and Akamai Technologies (AKAM) (+1.43%). Fastenal (FAST) (-4.39%), which reported earnings prior to Tuesday's open, was the biggest loser in the Nasdaq-100. Other top decliners included Baidu Inc. (BIDU) (-3.41%), Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) (-3.08%), and Joy Global (JOYG) (-2.68%).

Earnings season continues on Wednesday with JP Morgan Chase (JPM) reporting in the morning. Google (GOOG) reports after Thursday's close.

Major economic reports to watch for this week include the Mortgage Bankers Association's report on mortgage applications and the Federal Reserve's Beige Book on Wednesday. On Friday eyes will be on the Empire Manufacturing Index and the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index.

The ongoing budget debate will continue to grab headlines this week. In addition to the debate on cuts this year, the 2012 fiscal budget also still needs to be laid out and the situation with the country's legal debt limits must still be addressed.

Unless otherwise stated, the index action described in this article relates to the E-mini futures contracts for the respective indices. Actual index action may differ slightly in terms of pattern formation, although the market bias will remain the same.

Toni Hansen is president and co-founder of the Bastiat Group Inc., DBA Trading From Main Street. Toni is one of the most respected technical analysts and traders in the industry. She has been trading and educating new traders, money managers, professional market analysts and traders throughout the boom and bust of the last decade. She has worked in conjunction with some of the world's top financial exchanges. Learn more about Toni Hansen and the educational services she provides through her website at http://www.tonihansen.com.

About the Author
Toni Hansen

Toni Hansen is president and co-founder of the Bastiat Group, Inc., DBA Trading From Main Street. Toni is one of the most respected technical analysts and traders in the industry. She has been trading and educating new traders, money managers, professional market analysts and traders throughout the boom and bust of the last decade. She has worked in conjunction with some of the world's top financial exchanges. Learn more about Toni Hansen and the educational services she provides through her website at http://www.tonihansen.com.

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