Another Day in the Black, as the Russell 2000 Hits a New All-Time High

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) continued to barrel higher, adding more than 80 points, while the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) of small-cap stocks muscled to a new all-time peak. "We are now right back to where we were ahead of the June Fed meeting," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "This could make it an interesting technical area to watch."

Continue reading for more on today's market, including :

plus...
    Looming changes for big banks, a huge deal for Kroger ( KR ), and news-driven speculation on FedEx Corporation ( FDX ).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,300.34) finished in the black once again, closing up 75.7 points, or 0.5%, to settle roughly 20 points shy of its intraday peak. All but four of the Dow's 30 components moved higher today, with Caterpillar ( CAT ) surging 2.6% to top its blue-chip peers. Bringing up the rear was IBM (IBM), as Big Blue swallowed a 1.9% loss.

Conquering the 1,650 level on a closing basis for the first time since June 18, the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,652.32) rallied 11.9 points, or 0.7%. Turning to tech stocks, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,504.26) advanced 19.4 points, or 0.6%.


The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 14.35) continued to spiral lower, shedding 2.9%, or 0.4 point. Since its June 24 intraday peak of 21.91, the index has surrendered close to 35%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Although Alcoa (AA) failed to get off to a good start after its earnings last night, several sectors performed well, and the overall market remained strong," summarized Bell. "Transports were strong, but small-caps were the real story. The Russell 2000 (RUT) has been incredibly strong during the past couple of weeks, and is currently trying to convincingly take out the round-number 1,000 mark. A breakout above this level could be a very good sign for the market, as cyclical and growth stocks take a leadership role."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its optimism index , which revealed a modest drop in June. The reading pulled back to 93.5 last month from 94.4 in May, but was still the second-highest in a year. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • Banking names were in focus, following the release of a proposal from U.S. regulators that would require certain financial institutions to hold double the equity capital that is currently mandated under Basel III guidelines. If implemented, Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), and six other U.S. banking giants would be required to maintain a leverage ratio of 6%. (FOX Business)
  • Grocery chain Kroger ( KR ) announced its plans to purchase Harris Teeter Supermarkets (HTSI) for $2.4 billion, or $49.38 per share. Kroger -- already the largest grocery chain in the country -- will now have locations in 34 states. (USA Today)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Wells Fargo (WFC) was on the bearish analyst radar ahead of its turn in the earnings confessional on Friday.
  2. Traders have been overwhelmingly optimistic toward Applied Materials (AMAT) of late, with a heavy focus on the front-month series of calls.
  3. A pair of positive headlines lured bullish bettors to FedEx Corporation's ( FDX ) near-term options pits.
  4. Put buyers were unimpressed by Nokia's (NOK) recent strength on the charts.
  5. A new technical milestone for Ford (F) had traders predicting extended gains by week's end.

EARNINGS

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

STOCKS - NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS - NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities :

Oil futures rallied to a 14-month high, as continued conflict in Egypt kept supply concerns alive. The August-dated crude contract advanced 39 cents, or 0.4%, to end at $103.53 per barrel.

Gold futures also gained ground, fighting back from recent declines after consumer prices rose more than expected in China. Gold for August delivery added $11, or 0.9%, to settle the session at $1,245.90 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.



This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CAT , CSCO , FDX , KR , XONE

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