It looked like another seesaw session until just before midday,
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
ascended to a triple-digit lead. President Barack Obama said the
fiscal-cliff crisis could be resolved "in about a week," should
Republicans agree to tax hikes for the wealthy, though House
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told the commander in chief to put
his money where his mouth is, stating, "We can't negotiate with
ourselves." Nevertheless, hopes for a budget deal ushered the blue
chips into the black, as did encouraging data on factory orders and
the services sector. Furthermore, the optimism helped to overshadow
a lackluster update from payroll giant Automatic Data Processing
(ADP), which is often viewed as a precursor to Friday's highly
anticipated nonfarm payrolls report.
Continue reading for more on today's market events,
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
explored a range of more than 165 points, peaking at the 13,089.11
level in afternoon trading. By the close, the blue-chip barometer
pared its gain to 82.7 points, or 0.6%, to end back atop the 13,000
level and its 200-day moving average. Just eight of the Dow's 30
components bucked the trend higher, led by a 0.6% drop from
Bank of America (
paced the 22 advancing equities, soaring 5.7% to land in
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
also erased its early deficit, tacking on 2.2 points, or 0.2%. On
the other hand, the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
gave up nearly 23 points, or 0.8%, to end south of its 10-day
trendline for the first time since Nov. 16.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
settled around 3.9% lower, after running into a wall in the form of
its 200-day moving average.
A Trader's Take
"The market was pretty mixed today, with the Dow up about 100
points and technology stocks actually trading in the red," said
Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "Apple (
) seemed to weigh heavily on the tech sector, as news hit that a
clearing firm raised its margin requirement from 30% to 60%."
However, the iPhone maker wasn't the only stock in the news.
"The big deal today was certainly Freeport-McMoRan Copper &
) acquiring McMoRan Exploration (
) and Plains Exploration & Production (PXP) for a combined $20
billion," he added. "As the back-and-forth fiscal-cliff
negotiations continue, it's a good sign that M&A activity
continues to pick up as we near the end of the year."
Economic and Earnings News
The private sector added 118,000 jobs in November, said ADP,
down from a revised gain of 157,000 in October. Economists were
looking for a bigger monthly increase of 125,000, but ADP estimated
that Superstorm Sandy dented private payrolls by about 86,000 last
The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) nonmanufacturing
index rose to 54.7 in November, up from October's reading of 54.2.
The monthly gain points to a faster rate of growth in the U.S.
services sector. By contrast, economists had expected the index to
pull back to 53.5.
Factory orders ticked up 0.8% in October to $477.58 billion,
said the Commerce Department, defying expectations for a decrease
of 0.1%. Excluding transportation, factory orders improved 1.3%.
Meanwhile, orders for non-defense capital goods -- often viewed as
a key gauge of business spending -- rose 2.9% for the month.
The Labor Department upwardly revised third-quarter nonfarm
productivity to an annualized rate of 2.9%, sharply higher than its
previous estimate of 1.9%. Unit labor costs dropped 1.9% for the
July-September period, down from the initially reported decline of
0.1%. Economists, on average, expected productivity to climb 2.8%
and unit labor costs to decrease 1.0%.
Optimism increased during the week ended Nov. 30, according to
the latest survey by Investors Intelligence. The percentage of
financial advisors with a bullish view on stocks jumped to 43.6%
from 39.3%, while the percentage bearish slipped to 25.5% from
27.7%. The percentage anticipating a market correction pulled back
to 30.9% from 33.0%.
More Stocks Making News
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head
to page 2.
In the Options Pits
Crude futures finished lower for a second day in a row, as
domestic gasoline inventories saw their biggest one-week increase
since September 2001. Specifically, gasoline supplies rose by 7.9
million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration
(EIA) reported, surpassing expectations for a 2-million-barrel
surplus. By the close, January-dated oil gave up 62 cents, or 0.7%,
to end at $87.88 per barrel.
Gold futures also extended their retreat, as a strengthening
greenback spooked foreign-currency holders from the
dollar-denominated commodity. In addition, analysts at Goldman
Sachs cut their 12-month price forecast for gold by 7.2% to $1,800
an ounce, and predicted the malleable metal to land around $1,750
an ounce in 2014. By the bell, gold for February delivery ended a
wishy-washy session $2, or 0.1%, lower at $1,693.80 an ounce.
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