Dow Secures Triple-Digit Gain, Tags Record High

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"It was a pretty mixed day of price action, as a lot of the momentum names underperformed, and many of the big-cap stocks outperformed," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Most notably, tech and small-cap stocks lagged throughout the trading session." Meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rallied to new heights, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) came within striking distance of its own record high.

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

plus...
    Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) notched a decade-plus high on CEO news, the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators rose more than expected in September, and eBay Inc ( EBAY ) saw a jump in bullish options activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,746.88) spent the entire day in positive territory, and touched a record intraday peak of 15,750.29 just ahead of the closing bell. By the end of the session, the blue-chip index was up 128.7 points, or 0.8% -- marking an all-time closing high. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) led the Dow's 27 advancers with a gain of 4.2%, while Nike Inc's ( NKE ) drop of 0.6% paced the three laggards.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,770.49) tagged a session high of 1,773.74 early on, and gained 7.5 points, or 0.4%, by the close -- just a stone's throw away from a record closing high. Conversely, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,931.95) shed 7.9 points, or 0.2%, on the day.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.67) was parked mostly in the red today, finishing 0.6 point, or 4.5%, lower.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Some of the really big names in the Dow showed incredible performances today," Bell went on. "Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ), Cisco Systems, Inc. ( CSCO ), and Intel Corporation (INTC) all registered nice gains and helped the Dow outperform all of the other major indices."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Shares of Microsoft hit a decade-plus high today, after the firm said it's close to appointing a new CEO, with the shortlist to replace Steve Ballmer including Ford Motor Company (F) CEO Alan Mulally. Meanwhile, an analyst at Nomura who works closely with the software giant said a changing of the guard could result in the sale of MSFT's Bing and Xbox businesses. (Reuters)
  • Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto is the latest central bank figure to weigh in on the topic of tapering . During a speech in Columbus, Ohio, the Fed official expressed caution regarding the continuation of the current bond-buying program, and noted, "My hope is that the economic recovery will accelerate so that the Fed gains the reassurance it needs to begin winding the program." (MarketWatch)
  • The Conference Board said its Leading Economic Index climbed 0.7% to 97.1 in September, matching the increase recorded in the month prior. Economists, on average, were expecting a rise of just 0.6%. (CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. A well-received quarterly earnings report for Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (ADR) (CTRP) triggered a pair of price-target hikes for the online travel concern.
  2. BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) saw a surge of selling activity in its December-dated puts, the expiration date of which coincides with the firm's next earnings report.
  3. Speculators wagered on extended gains for eBay Inc ( EBAY ) by scooping up the stock's in-the-money, November-dated call options.
  4. Opinions toward Twitter Inc (TWTR) are varied on Wall Street ahead of the Internet company's long-waited IPO tomorrow.
  5. Ford Motor Company (F) put activity spiked despite some upbeat sales news abroad, but not all of today's volume was of the bearish variety.

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 futures climbed higher today, thanks to a smaller-than-anticipated increase in oil supplies last week. By the closing bell, the December contract gained $1.43, or 1.5%, to end at $94.80 per barrel -- the largest daily advance for a most active contract since early October.

Gold futures also gained ground, as a weaker dollar gave the malleable metal a bit of momentum. December-dated gold added $9.70, or 0.7%, to finish at $1,317.80 per ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: CSCO , EBAY , MSFT , NKE , TSLA

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