Markets Rally, Dow Secures 96-Point Gain

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"Earnings will get the headlines, but in the end, the bull market continues to be in charge," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Overall, earnings have come in a little bit better than expected. They're not great by any means, but again, it is always easier to bet on lowered expectations, and that is what we're seeing. After a dip yesterday, it was nice to see the bulls come right back today." On that note, a few strong earnings reports -- along with some upbeat manufacturing data out of China -- resulted in a near-triple-digit gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) .

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

plus...
    First-time jobless claims fell less than expected last week, Carl Icahn increased his stake in Apple Inc. ( AAPL ), and Facebook Inc ( FB ) received a pre-earnings price-target adjustment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,509.21) spent the session in positive territory, and touched an intraday high of 15,528.63 around 3:00 p.m. ET. By the closing bell, the index was up 95.9 points, or 0.6%. The Home Depot, Inc. ( HD ) led the 20 advancing blue chips with a gain of 2.3%, while AT&T Inc.'s (T) 1.8% loss paced the 10 laggards.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,752.07) was also parked in the green for most of the day, and finished 5.7 points, or 0.3%, higher -- back above the key 1,750 level. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,928.96) advanced 21.9 points, or 0.6%, on the day.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.20) moved higher at the start of today's trading, only to shave off 0.2 point, or 1.6%, by the close -- finishing near its intraday low.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"Small-caps once again took charge, leading markets higher today," Detrick continued. "Also, the action in homebuilding stocks is worth noting. With interest rates experiencing a surprise dip over the past two weeks, homebuilders are starting to grow again. That is the nice thing about this bull market -- one sector might start to dip, and another steps up. Money doesn't just disappear, it rotates. You could make the same argument that semiconductors are starting to lag, but now we have the housing sector picking up the slack."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • Data out of China was a market driver again this morning, as the region's flash purchasing managers index (PMI) climbed to 50.9 in October, marking a seven-month peak. Here at home , however, Markit's flash PMI reading for October arrived at 51.1 -- down from the previous month's figure of 52.8, and reflecting the index's lowest level in a year. (CNBC, MarketWatch)
  • The Labor Department said initial jobless claims fell by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week. Economists, on average, were expecting a drop to 340,000. (Reuters)
  • Carl Icahn penned a letter to Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) CEO Tim Cook announcing that he has increased his stake in the tech giant to 4.7 million shares. The activist investor is now calling for the company to buy back $150 billion in stock at a per-share price of $525. (Forbes)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Ahead of next week's earnings report, Facebook Inc ( FB ) received a price-target hike at JMP Securities.
  2. One Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) speculator did some profit taking ahead of tonight's turn in the earnings confessional.
  3. A cautious current-quarter outlook from Akamai Technologies, Inc. (AKAM) resulted in a pair of downward price-target adjustments.
  4. Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) saw a surge in call volume as the firm prepares to report quarterly earnings next month.
  5. Pre-earnings call activity ran hot on JetBlue Airways Corporation (JBLU) , as one trader targeted the November series of options.

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 snapped their losing streak, thanks to some upbeat manufacturing data out of China, which could bode well for energy demand. By the closing bell, the December contract tacked on 25 cents, or 0.3%, to finish at $97.11 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures notched a five-week closing peak, as the same overseas news propelled the malleable metal higher. December-dated gold gained $16.30, or 1.2%, to end at $1,350.30 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , FB , GE , HD , MS

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