Positive Retail Sales Propel Stocks Higher


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"As ugly as yesterday was, the bulls came back swinging today," remarked Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "Kind of reminds you of 2013, huh? Earnings season kicked off today with JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) and Wells Fargo & Co ( WFC ) posting quarterly results. Although neither of them did much, the overall market is looking forward to another better-than-expected earnings season, as expectations once again look way too low." Against this backdrop, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) bounced back with a triple-digit gain, and snapped its four-day losing streak.

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

    Retail sales inched higher in December, two Fed officials weighed in on tapering timing, and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. ( AMD ) attracted a neutral-to-bearish strategist ahead of earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,373.86) was parked in the black for the entire session, and ended up closing 115.9 points, or 0.7%, higher. The Dow's 26 advancers were led by Intel Corporation's ( INTC ) analyst-induced gain of 4%, while The Boeing Company (BA) paced the four decliners with a loss of 0.5%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,838.88) also spent the day in positive territory, and was up 19.7 points, or 1.1%, by the closing bell. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,183.02) -- which touched a 13-year intraday high of 4,183.84 -- advanced 69.7 points, or 1.7%, for the session.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.28) faltered right out of the gate, and went on to finish 1 point, or 7.5%, lower on the day.



A Trader's Take :

"Retail sales came in a little better than expected," Detrick noted. "After the very sluggish jobs number last week, many are worried the economy could be slowing before our eyes. Well, today's retail data shows that might not be the case quite yet. Also, under the surface, small-caps had a huge day. You have to love small-caps leading, and once again, we saw this happen today."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The Commerce Department said retail sales edged up 0.2% last month, slightly besting the consensus view. Meanwhile, a separate report from The National Retail Federation showed that holiday sales rose 3.8% in November and December, which was slightly short of projections. (MarketWatch, CNBC)
  2. During a speech at La Salle University, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser advocated for the central bank to cease its asset-buying program by the end of this year. Elsewhere, Richard Fisher -- president of the Dallas Fed -- said he had hoped the central bank would reduce the program by $20 billion versus the $10 billion that was approved in December. (MarketWatch)
  3. Facebook Inc (FB) received a fresh bullish initiation from FBN Securities in pre-market action.
  4. Pessimistic speculators wagered on a decline for Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) by picking up front-month puts.
  5. One Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. ( AMD ) options player utilized weekly calls to employ a pre-earnings spread strategy.


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



Commodities :

Crude futures gained ground today, amid expectations for a decline in tomorrow's weekly crude inventories report. The February contract tacked on 79 cents, or 0.9%, to close at $92.59 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures ended in the red, as prices were dragged lower by hawkish comments from a pair of regional Fed officials. February-dated gold dropped $5.70, or 0.5%, to finish at $1,245.40 an ounce.


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

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Options
Referenced Symbols: AMD , BAC , INTC , JPM , WFC

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