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
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
Looming changes for big banks, a huge deal for Kroger (
), and news-driven speculation on FedEx Corporation (
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 (
) 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%.
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
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)
, 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.
- 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%.
- Grocery chain Kroger (
) 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.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
Wells Fargo (WFC)
was on the bearish analyst radar ahead of its turn in the
earnings confessional on Friday.
- Traders have been overwhelmingly optimistic toward
Applied Materials (AMAT)
of late, with a heavy focus on the front-month series of
- A pair of positive headlines lured bullish bettors to
FedEx Corporation's (
near-term options pits.
- Put buyers were unimpressed by
recent strength on the charts.
- A new technical milestone for
had traders predicting extended gains by week's end.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
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.