Bulls Retake Control After Slow Morning; Dow Tops 16,000

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"What more can you say ... the bulls took charge," recalled Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Some disappointing retail data and weekly initial claims pushed things lower early, but the bulls stepped up in a big way as the day continued. The S&P 500 Index found buyers right at its 50-day moving average, and in the end it was another new 13-year high for the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ). Funny how just 10 days ago it was 'the big one' and we were finally going to drop 10%, if not a lot more. Guess the bears will have to continue to wait for that one." For its part, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fought its way back from early losses to close above 16,000 for the first time since Jan. 23.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Learning to Trade Like the Pros: Develop a healthy sense of skepticism . There's no need to be a knee-jerk cynic, but it certainly pays to be wary of "hot tips" and "sure things" -- no matter where they come from.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,027.59) began the day south of breakeven but muscled into the green ahead of the lunch hour, closing with a gain of 63.7 points, or 0.4%. It was the index's first close north of 16,000 since Jan. 23. The Dow's 23 advancers were paced by a 1.7% gain in AT&T Inc. ( T ). At the back of the pack was Cisco Systems, Inc. ( CSCO ), down 2.5% after Wednesday evening's earnings release.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,829.83) also headed higher on the day, closing with a gain of 10.6 points, or 0.6%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,240.67) advanced 39.4 points, adding 0.9%, to bring its winning streak to six sessions.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.14) continued its decline, closing with a drop of 0.2 point, or 1.1%. The fear barometer is up just 3.1% for the year.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Small-caps and the tech sector did great today. Tech has been leading all year, so that is nothing new, but small-cap strength is a welcome sign," noted Detrick. "No doubt, the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) has been lagging some this year, but all of a sudden, it is leading once again. As last year taught us, that is a good sign for higher overall stock prices."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The polar vortex may have kept consumers indoors in January, as retail sales slipped 0.4%, a sharper decline than economists were expecting. December retail sales were also revised lower to show a fractional decline. (MarketWatch)
  2. Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) announced its intention to scoop up its largest competitor, Time Warner Cable Inc (TWC), for $45.2 billion in stock. The two cable giants do not currently operate in any of the same zip codes, leading Comcast's CEO to argue that the deal is "pro-consumer, pro-competitive, and strongly in the public interest." (The New York Times)
  3. Could Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) be headed back to $400? Deep out-of-the-money put buyers were eying this century level today.
  4. Weekly call buyers anticipate a breakout in Ford Motor Company (F) shares.
  5. A bounce from support in Twitter Inc (TWTR) shares has inspired increased call speculation.

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 :

Crude oil was little changed today, despite a weaker dollar. March-dated futures edged down 2 cents to close at $100.35 per barrel, maintaining their footing atop the $100 threshold.

Gold futures headed modestly higher on the day, but the upward momentum was enough to carry the precious metal north of the $1,300 level and to its highest close in three months. By the time the closing bell sounded, April gold futures had added $5.10, or 0.4%, to $1,300.10 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: TSLA , WFM , AAPL , T , CSCO

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