Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
spent most of the session dawdling north of breakeven, as Wall
Street applauded a tech-sector rebound and encouraging data ahead
of tomorrow's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report.
Nevertheless, the bulls remained somewhat cautious amid the ongoing
fiscal-cliff standoff, as well as the European Central Bank's (ECB)
downwardly revised economic forecast for 2013.
Continue reading for more on today's market events,
Daily Game Plan
: Which level could
hold a clue
for stocks' end-of-year trajectory? Senior Trading Analyst Bryan
Sapp weighs in.
Chart of the Day
: Senior Options Strategist Tony Venosa, CMT, outlines the next
upside target for
this java giant
: Wall Street is betting on a
pop in market volatility
, notes Senior VP of Research Todd Salamone.
Everything You Need to Know
: Your one-stop shop for levels to watch, economic data, earnings
reports, stocks on the move, and commodities action.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)
ended just off its session high, tacking on almost 40 points, or
0.3%, to settle at its loftiest level since Nov. 6. Just nine of
the Dow's 30 blue chips bucked the trend, with Alcoa (
) ending flat and AT&T (
) giving up 0.8%. On the other hand,
led the 21 advancing big-caps, adding 1.6%.
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
also finished near an intraday acme, gaining 4.7 points, or 0.3%.
Meanwhile, the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
fared the best of its peers, gaining 15.6 points, or 0.5%. However,
the COMP's upward momentum stalled in the round-number 3,000
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
also settled in the black, adding about 0.7%, and bringing its
week-to-date gain to roughly 4.5%.
A Trader's Take
"Markets were relatively flat today, as financial stocks gave
back some of their gains from yesterday and Apple (
) finally had a positive day after a rough stretch this week," said
Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell. "While AAPL finally showed a
glimmer of hope, only time will tell if the bounce lasts. But after
a tough string of losses, investors were sure glad it finally
caught a bid near its November low."
What's more, said Bell, Wall Street seemed to shrug off
lackluster headlines from overseas. "News from Europe didn't help,
as Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece to 'Select Default' from
'CCC.' This is just the latest in a string of meaningless
downgrades from Standard & Poor's, and did little to shake the
Economic and Earnings News
Initial jobless claims fell by 25,000 last week to a seasonally
adjusted 370,000, reported the Labor Department, down from the
previous week's upwardly revised 395,000. The drop was healthier
than expected, as economists expected 375,000 claims for the latest
week. The four-week moving average of first-time jobless claims
edged up by 2,250 to 408,000.
Planned job cuts jumped 34% in November on a year-over-year
basis, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, arriving at
57,081 -- making it the second-worst month for layoffs in 2012,
behind only May's 61,887 cuts. However, were it not for the 18,500
pink slips doled out by Hostess last month, planned job cuts would
have actually declined from November 2011 levels.
The mood brightened on Wall Street during the week ended Dec. 5,
according to the latest survey by the American Association of
Individual Investors (AAII). The percentage of respondents with a
bullish view on stocks climbed to 42.2% from 40.9%, even as the
percentage bearish inched up to 34.6% from 34.4%. Meanwhile, the
percentage neutral retreated to 23.2% from 24.7%.
More Stocks Making News
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head
to page 2.
In the Options Pits
Oil futures extended their losing streak into a third
consecutive session, pressured by Wednesday's bearish U.S.
inventories report and a gloomy economic forecast out of the euro
zone. Crude for January delivery dropped $1.62, or 1.8%, to finish
at $86.26 per barrel.
Gold futures ended the day on positive ground, as a revived
safe-haven bid overshadowed a stronger U.S. dollar. February-dated
gold gained $8, or 0.5%, to finish at $1,701.80 per ounce.
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