This Is the Reason the S&P 500 Gave Up 97% of Today’s Advance

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Just when you thought the S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC  ) was set to resoundingly break a four-day losing streak, more jobs confusion, and a one-two punch from Spain and Greece, sent the market into a tailspin.

Jobless claims figures released earlier today fell by a sizable 30,000 to an annualized rate of just 339,000 – a four-year low. However, questionable data, which includes figures not reported from a large state, led many pundits to believe by the end of the day that this data may prove unreliable.

Furthermore, an endless sea of negative data from Europe continues to sap the market of optimism. Standard & Poor's downgraded Spain's credit rating two notches to BBB- and set the country's outlook as "negative." Greece's news was equally as damaging, reporting that its unemployment rate has topped 25% -- a figure that seems unfathomable to those of us in the United States.

Unsurprisingly, the S&P 500 gave up early gains, which had the broad-market index up as much as 11.34 points, to end up a paltry 0.30 points (0.02%), to 1,432.84. Let's have a quick look at a few companies most directly responsible for today's move in the S&P 500.

Not to sound like a broken record, but the big winner today was, yet again, the coal sector. If you recall, coal companies, like Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR  ) and Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU  ) , have benefited from rising natural gas prices, which makes coal a more attractive fuel-generating investment. The boost today comes from comments by an analyst at Dahlman Rose, who sees an increase in Chinese steel demand boosting metallurgical coal companies whose product is used to strengthen steel. Alpha Natural and Peabody ended the day higher by 17% and 9%, respectively.

The nation's number three mobile carrier, Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , soared 14% today, following a report that Japanese cell phone company Softbank is considering making a substantial investment in the company, which could involve a change in ownership control. Sprint has struggled mightily to build out a 4G network that's comparable to Verizon Wireless or AT&T, and was also late to the game in bringing the iPhone to its network. After multiple stumbles, and a boatload of debt, perhaps a buyout is exactly what Sprint shareholders are hoping for.

There were no smiles to be had for Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR  ) shareholders today, which fell 8%, after the discount retailer issued a weak third-quarter earnings outlook. Blaming higher gas prices and cautious consumer spending, Dollar Tree now expects to post results at the low-end of its previously forecasted revenue guidance of $1.71 billion to $1.75 billion. You might think falling consumer spending would lead to a thriftier shopper, which should feed right into Dollar Tree's hands, but even these discount stores need consumers to purchase higher-margin discretionary items in order to grow their business. As of now, it seems like that just isn't happening.

These companies rule retail
Don't let Dollar Tree's woes get you down. Our analysts at Stock Advisor recently handpicked three companies they feel are poised to rule the retail sector, and you can find out their identities, for free, by clicking here to get your copy of this latest special report.

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2054421, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 11:35:11 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,206.87 7.54 0.04%
S&P 500 2,137.10 -2.33 -0.11%
NASD 5,238.91 -11.36 -0.22%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/27/2016 11:25 AM
^GSPC $2137.14 Down -2.29 -0.11%
S&P 500 INDEX CAPS Rating: No stars
ANRZQ $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
Alpha Natural Reso… CAPS Rating: **
BTUUQ $7.92 Up +0.52 +7.03%
Peabody Energy Cor… CAPS Rating: *
DLTR $75.67 Down -1.13 -1.47%
Dollar Tree Stores CAPS Rating: ***
S $6.26 Down -0.11 -1.65%
Sprint CAPS Rating: **