A quiet open to this option expiration day. Investors are not overly cheerful about economic reports indicating that consumer prices are holding steady or that the Empire Manufacturing Index is slowly improving. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 27 points higher to 8,358. The S&P 500 Index rose 2 points to 895. The Nasdaq Composite gained 4 points to 1,694. Quiet day on the news front. Insurance stocks are performing well after receiving access to government TARP money. Hartford is jumping 10%. Lincoln Financials is up 7%. The banks are opening unchanged. Bank of America is unchanged on news the government is putting pressure on the company to revamp their board of directors. SunTrust is jumping 4% after announcing plans to cut their dividend and raise capital. The retail sector is mixed this morning. Nordstrom is up 5% on earnings while JCPenney and Abercrombie & Fitch are lower following earnings. The techs are modestly higher after getting hit with selling pressure the last couple of days. Red Hat and Sandisk are higher following upgrades. Adobe is unchanged on cautious comments from Amtech. IBM and Google are higher. After the first half an hour the averages remain modestly in the green, picking up speed after the first hour. Through the morning, entering the lunch hour, the averages gravitated back to the unchanged level. The financials are in the red. In the afternoon the averages dropped into the red. No buyers today. Entering the last hour, the Dow was down 90 points. The Nasdaq declined 9 points. Only a select number of techs are in the green. In the last hour the averages recovered a little off their lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 62 points to 8,268, leaving the blue chip average down 3.6% on the week. The S&P 500 declined 10 points, or 1.1%, to 882, off 5% from the week-ago close. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 9 points to end at 1,680, with the technology-laden index snapping a nine-week winning streak.
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