Markets Finish in the Black Ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday

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"Weekly jobless claims were better than expected, but durable goods orders weren't anything spectacular," mused Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Still, the data didn't do much to sway the market either way, and the slow week continued, as many participants prepared for the Thanksgiving holiday." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) both finished in positive territory, and once again clinched all-time closing highs.

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

plus...
    Consumer sentiment climbed higher in November, weekly jobless claims fell more than expected, and Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) received a vote of confidence from the brokerage bunch.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,097.33) faltered during the afternoon hours, touching an intraday low of 16,057.34 around 1:30 p.m. ET. By the session's end, however, the blue-chip bellwether was up 24.5 points, or 0.2%, to secure yet another record closing high. Intel Corporation ( INTC ) led the Dow's 19 advancers with a gain of 1.1%, while The Walt Disney Company ( DIS ) paced the 11 decliners with a loss of 0.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,807.23) also drifted lower around midday, but powered north to end 4.5 points, or 0.3%, higher -- marking an all-time closing peak. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,044.75) reached a new 13-year intraday peak of 4,045.81, and advanced 27 points, or 0.7%, on the day.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.98) plummeted to a session low of 12.44 shortly after the opening bell, but managed to end with a modest gain of roughly 0.2 point, or 1.3%.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"The slow and steady uptrend continued," noted Bell. "Technology and small-caps once again had a strong performance, similar to yesterday's session. Momentum names that lagged for much of November have definitely received some nice attention from buyers during this holiday-shortened week."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit of $1.41 billion, or 73 cents per share, versus a loss of $6.85 billion, or $3.49 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding items, earnings arrived at $1.01 per share, topping consensus estimates by a penny. Meanwhile, revenue came in at $29.1 billion, besting analysts' projections for $27.8 billion in sales. (Bloomberg)
  • The final November reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index arrived at 75.1, up from a reading of 73.2 in October. Economists, on average, were expecting a final figure of 73. (MarketWatch)
  • The Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell by 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000 -- contrasting consensus projections for a rise to 330,000. In addition, the four-week moving average of initial filings fell by 7,500 to 331,750. (Reuters via CNBC)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) scored a price-target hike after announcing plans to revamp its Internet traffic encryption efforts.
  2. News of an employee layoff in Canada triggered some negative price action for Sears Holding Corp (SHLD) .
  3. Intel Corporation ( INTC ) was slapped with negative analyst attention at RBC ahead of the opening bell.
  4. Put volume ran rampant on Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) , but not all of this activity was of the bearish variety.
  5. Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) added a holiday-inspired product page, while the stock reached a new technical milestone.

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 stumbled today, after the latest inventories report revealed a 10th weekly increase in oil supplies. By the closing bell, the January contract fell $1.38, or 1.5%, to end at $92.30 per barrel -- the lowest settlement price for a most active contract since late May.

Meanwhile, gold futures were pressured lower by a stronger greenback, with February-dated gold declining $3.60, or 0.3%, to finish at $1,237.90 per ounce -- marking the lowest closing price since July 8, when comparing most-active contracts.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: DIS , GE , INTC , JCP , MSFT

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