"There was chatter this morning that Asia and Europe might be
seeing another round of quantitative easing sooner rather than
later," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT.
"This speculation, along with some decent economic reports, sent
most sectors higher throughout much of the day. Interestingly
enough, the technology and consumer discretionary sectors took an
early lead. Despite the early strength, though, we once again saw a
pretty sizable reversal throughout the day, with small-caps
struggling to stay above breakeven." The
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
zoomed higher out of the gate and close with a modest gain on the
day, putting it slightly in the black for the week.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Trading Topic of the Week
- The "worst IPO" "award," a volatility birthday, and other
you may have missed
during the past week in the markets.
- Facebook Inc (
) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has big ideas to help
expand the reach of the Internet
- Is QUALCOMM, Inc. (
headed to new 14-year highs
? This afternoon, bullish traders made bets of this nature.
... Remarks from China's premier spur global relief, consumer
spending inches forward, and Microsoft Corporation (
) attracts bullish Wall Street attention.
-- Tips for Buying Weekly Options:
Take advantage of affordable hedging
. Weekly options offer an economical way to guard your stock
positions against event-related risk.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,323.06)
was up more than 150 points at its intraday peak, but pared its
gain to 58.8 points, or 0.4%, by the close. Twenty-six of the Dow's
30 blue chips ended higher, led by Microsoft Corporation's (
) 2.4% advance. Visa Inc (
) led the declining minority with a 1.7% drop. For the week, the
Dow edged 0.1% higher.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,857.62)
also trimmed its lead in afternoon trading, finishing with a gain
of 8.6 points, or 0.5%. After spending most of the session in
positive territory, the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,155.76)
spent the final 90 minutes of trading flirting with breakeven, but
ultimately resolved to the upside, adding 4.5 points, or 0.1%. For
the week, the SPX shed 0.5%, while the COMP surrendered 2.8%.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.41)
peeked above breakeven in afternoon action, but finished 0.2 point,
or 1.4%, lower. For the week, the "fear barometer" shed 3.9%.
A Trader's Take
"Despite the rocky afternoon for most sectors," Bell added, "we
did see most broad indexes finish in the green. It seems clear the
bulls are struggling to gain any momentum to the upside, as selling
pressure continued to cap any and all attempted rallies this
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- New hopes emerged for China's economic growth, following the
release of remarks
from China's Premier Li Keqiang. In a speech from Wednesday --
the details of which were reported in the press early Friday --
Li assured investors that future stimulus measures would be
introduced to help the economy if needed. "We will launch
relevant and forceful measures according to what we have planned
in our government work report," he noted. Such measures include
accelerating construction on infrastructure projects and
- The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan
consumer confidence index
showed a final reading of 80 in March, down from 81.6 in February
and below economists' expectations. Also on the consumer front,
consumer spending increased
at a 0.3% pace in February, due in part to service spending (such
as utility payments, which were inflated due to harsh winter
weather). Personal income edged higher as well, while the savings
rate increased by a fraction, to 4.3% of after-tax income.
(Bloomberg; USA Today)
- Following a
Microsoft Corporation (
announcement that Office would be available for the iPad, the
Seattle software giant earned a pair of price-target hikes.
- Call buyers have descended upon
DryShips Inc. (
options pits, despite the stock's continued
Option Idea of the Week
Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP)
could be headed higher over the coming months.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Oil futures advanced on Friday, amid heightened expectations for
global energy demand. The May contract added 39 cents, or 0.4%,
during the session, to settle at $101.67 per barrel.
Week-over-week, black gold rose 2.2%.
Gold futures continued to lose ground on Friday, as modest gains
in the equity market detracted from the metal's safe-haven appeal.
The June contract -- which is now the most active among all months
trading -- slipped by 50 cents to settle at $1,294.30 an ounce. On
a weekly basis, when comparing most-active contracts, gold logged a