Dow Sprints Higher on Light-Volume Day, Closes Up 2.3% for the Week


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"It was a relatively quiet end to the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) leading the way," Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, summed up. "There wasn't much news out there, as much of the East Coast is still stuck in the snow, and the upcoming three-day weekend didn't help volume. The bottom line is the bulls really took charge this week and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) found support right at its 50-day moving average."

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Learning to Trade Like the Pros: Manage your money carefully . Don't be careless with your cash -- keep an eye on those allocations, and know your exit plan before you enter.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,154.39) continued its upward march, closing with a gain of 126.8 points, or 0.8%, after starting the day below breakeven. The Dow added 2.3% during the week but remains down 2.5% year-to-date. All but three of the Dow's 30 components finished higher today, paced by UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH), which gained 3.2%. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) brought up the rear with a 1.7% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,838.63) also ended solidly higher, adding 8.8 points, or 0.5%, to bring its weekly gain to 2.3% as well. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,244.03) was the day's underperformer, rising 3.4 points, or 0.1%. For the week, however, the COMP surged 2.9%, and is in positive territory for 2014.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.57) lost ground for the seventh consecutive session and breached the 14 mark. By the close, the "fear gauge" was off 0.6 point, or 4%. This week, the VIX gave back 11.2%.



A Trader's Take :

"Earnings season is basically over, and in the end, earnings were once again pretty solid," continued Detrick. "The estimates are that quarterly earnings grew over 8% from last year, making it the best performance since late 2011. Is the economy perfect? No. Still, to see earnings making new records and continuing to expand higher is always a welcome sign. Don't forget that historically, the second half of February can be slow, but March and April have been two of the strongest months over the past 10 years."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Consumer sentiment was flat during the first half of February. The reading from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan -- matching what was reported in late January -- was slightly north of economists' estimates. Elsewhere, industrial production declined by 0.8%, versus expectations for a modest increase. (Reuters; FOX Business)
  2. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc ( JOSB )-- which remains the target of a hostile takeover attempt by The Men's Wearhouse, Inc. ( MW ) -- made a move of its own today. The men's apparel chain plans to acquire the parent company of Eddie Bauer for $825 million in cash and debt. JOSB also announced a stock buyback plan, contingent upon the Bauer deal coming to fruition. (The New York Times)
  3. Apple Inc. (AAPL) scored a price-target hike from BofA-Merrill Lynch this morning. Through Thursday's close, the stock had tacked on more than 10% in February.
  4. Bearish J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) traders set their sights on new all-time lows.
  5. Our Option Idea of the Week features a potential bullish play on KB Home (KBH) .


For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.



Commodities :

Crude futures edged lower on the day, but managed to stay atop the psychologically significant $100 level and end the week in the black. Today, March-dated crude fell 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $100.30 per barrel, bringing its week-over-week gain to 0.4%.

Gold futures continued to move higher, bringing their winning streak to eight sessions. April gold futures gained $18.50, or 1.4%, to settle the session at a new three-month high of $1,318.60 per ounce. On a weekly basis, gold surged 4.4%.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Options
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