Dow Rallies to Another New High, While S&P 500 Falls Short

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"All in all, it was a light news day. Alcoa ( AA ) kicked off earnings season, but didn't react much, as the stock closed flat," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) notched another new record high in afternoon trading, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit its highest point in more than five years. "Late-day buying is a pattern we've been seeing recently," Detrick said, "and that's a really good sign."

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

plus...
  • Another record-setting day for the Dow, a controversial shift at J.C. Penney ( JCP ), and a number of bullish bets on General Motors (GM).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hasn't had a three-day losing streak yet this year, and it wasn't going to start today. The blue-chip index muscled 60 points, or 0.4%, higher to close at 14,673.46 and hit a new all-time high of 14,716.46 in mid-afternoon action. Two-thirds of the Dow's 30 components, gained today, with Microsoft (MSFT) leading the pack, up 3.6%. AA was unchanged on the day, while Procter & Gamble (PG) paced the nine decliners, shedding 0.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) came within 3 points of its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 and notched a new five-year high of 1,573.89 in the process. At the close, the SPX was up 5.5 points, or 0.4%, at 1,568.61. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) kept pace with its index peers, adding 16 points, or 0.5%, to settle at 3,237.86.


The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) started off in the black but saw any gains unravel during the afternoon. By the close, the VIX was off 0.4 point, or 2.7%, at 12.84.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"What can you say," asked Detrick, "the market once again rallied and is sitting near all-time highs. One continued concern is that small-caps didn't participate in this move higher. Still, today marked the 13th-straight positive Tuesday for the Dow -- an all-time record. Also," he continued, "First Solar (FSLR) issued some very positive comments regarding earnings, sparking a huge rally in solar names. Some of this optimism translated to the overall market, as we again found some solid buying during the afternoon."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The J.C. Penney Company ( JCP ) saga took an interesting turn today, as the retailer's board ousted Ron Johnson in the midst of his campaign to re-imagine the venerable brand. Former CEO Myron Ullman was brought back to lead the company, prompting some criticism and a more than 12% drop in the shares. (Forbes)
  • James Bullard, head of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, said he still believes the unemployment rate will drop to 7% by the end of 2013, despite the weak jobs numbers posted in March. Bullard, who is more of a hawk than some of his Fed brethren, reiterated that the central bank will "slowly" reduce its bond-buying efforts as signs of economic growth emerge. (Bloomberg)
  • Wholesale inventories dropped 0.3% in February, the Commerce Department reported, posting their largest decline in 18 months. Economists were expecting inventories to grow by 0.5% during the month. (Reuters)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Call buyers continued to swoop in on General Motors (GM).
  2. Bullish Molycorp Inc (MCP) traders targeted short-term gains with weekly options.
  3. Call buyers bet on a new all-time high for Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) shares.
  4. As JCP headed "back to the future" by appointing its former CEO, one large-scale call-spread buyer ran for the exits .
  5. Biogen Idec (BIIB) scored a price-target hike worth $35.

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 :

Supply concerns and a falling dollar boosted oil today, ahead of tomorrow's weekly report on inventories. May crude futures closed at $94.20 per barrel, up 84 cents, or just under 0.9%.

Bargain hunters descended on gold, after the precious metal sank in four of the past five sessions. The buying demand lifted June-dated gold by $14.20, or 0.9%, to $1,586.70 per ounce. This was the highest close for gold since April 1.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE

At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's Investment Research reviews the trading day in detail, covering major events and key market developments. Don't miss this critical, timely and insightful report. If you enjoyed today's edition of Market Recap, sign up here for free daily delivery straight to your inbox.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AA , BAC , DELL , EBAY , JCP

Schaeffer's Investment Research

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