A Down Day Caps a Brutal Week for the Dow

Investors are licking their wounds after a relatively rough week. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) feel 1.7%, or 218 points. Before its lone positive day of the week yesterday, the Dow had closed in the red for six consecutive days. Today's trading results didn't help much. The Dow dropped another 35 points today to leave it down 0.3%. Other broad U.S. indexes were a mixed bag. The S&P 500 also declined 0.3%, while the tech-weighted Nasdaq eked out a tiny gain of just 0.01%.

Macro storylines weighed heavily on U.S. indexes. Anxiousness over the fallout from European elections in France and especially Greece dominated headlines this week. This week's drama reached its crescendo when eurozone governments announced that they considered withholding part of Greece's bailout payments amid the nation's turbulent political climate.

As a result of this week's political tumult, volatility also surged throughout the week. The market's so-called "fear gauge," or the VIX (INDEX: ^VIX) , increased yet again today, climbing 5.6%. And despite all the high-level news, individual stocks also gave investors plenty to discuss.

Around the markets
Funny how a day can change the outlook for a company. Shares of weight-loss-pill company Arena Pharmaceuticals (NAS: ARNA) spiked a mind-boggling 73.8% today, their highest point in 20 months, on news that its obesity-management drug lorcaserin received a recommendation for approval from the FDA. And while the FDA still needs to grant Arena official approval, this certainly does bode well for the company. Arena should hear back from the FDA by sometime next month.

If passed, this would mark the second instance this year where an agency panel, the step before official FDA approval or rejection, has recommended an obesity drug. Earlier this year, an advisory committee gave its blessing to Qnexa. The news also caused its parent company Vivus (NAS: VVUS) to spike sharply upward.

Switching to slightly more reasonable gains, shares of semiconductor player NVIDIA (NAS: NVDA) also traded higher to the tune of 6.4% today, after starting the day above the 10% mark. Investors favorably reacted to their quarterly earnings that came in above Wall Street estimates.

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At the time thisarticle was published Andrew Tonner held no financial position in any of the companies mentioned in this article. You can follow Andrew and all of his Foolish writing on Twitter at @AndrewTonner. Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of NVIDIA and writing puts on NVIDIA. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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