"There were a number of weak reports out of China and Europe
ahead of the opening bell, which put an early damper on the
market," reported Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT.
"But despite the quiet start, the market slowly churned higher
throughout the day, and the upward momentum of the past few weeks
continued. The jobless claims and consumer price index (CPI) data
were both released this morning, as well, and the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
and major sectors extended their gains throughout the session."
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
... Consumer prices tick higher,
) opens its wallet, and Twitter Inc (NYSE:
) traders maintain a short-term focus.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,133.23)
motored higher for most of the session, closing up 92.7 points, or
0.6%. Verizon Communications Inc. (
) again led the pack, up 3.4% to pace the two dozen advancers.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (
) suffered a 1.8% post-earnings plunge, finishing last of the Dow's
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,839.78)
stretched within 8 points of its record intraday high, but settled
for a gain of 11 points, or 0.6%. The
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,267.54)
gained ground, adding 29.6 points, or 0.7%.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.79)
recoiled after yesterday's bounce higher, giving back 0.7 point, or
4.6%, to slip back south of the 15 level.
A Trader's Take
"Small-cap stocks once again took a leadership role and are
right back up near their all-time highs," Bell continued. "The big
news today was Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion. There
has been a lot of discussion about what this means for Facebook
going forward, but it's just another example of companies utilizing
their cash to go out and acquire companies."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
Consumer prices edged 0.1% higher
in January -- in line with expectations -- and have risen 1.6% on
a year-over-year basis. The core index, excluding food and energy
prices, ticked 0.1% higher last month as well. Elsewhere, the
number of initial unemployment filings
declined by 3,000 last week, falling just short of the 4,000 drop
expected by economists.
- Unseasonably cold weather
delivered a blow to sales results
at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (
). The world's largest retailer posted a 21% decline in
fourth-quarter profit and issued reduced guidance for the current
fiscal year. Also, Wal-Mart lifted its annual cash dividend by 2%
to $1.92 per share.
- Facebook Inc (
) said it would shell out $16 billion upfront (and up to $19
billion if certain conditions are met) for
startup messaging service WhatsApp
. Founded just five years ago, WhatsApp has more than 450 million
users, and is currently cited as the most popular messaging app
for smartphone users.
- Today's FB news inspired short-term betting activity on
Twitter Inc (TWTR)
from both bulls and bears.
Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)
option bears wagered on a short-term pullback.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Thursday's oil watchers weighed weak manufacturing data in China
against a smaller-than-expected increase in crude supplies. By the
close, March-dated crude futures had dropped 39 cents, or 0.4%, to
$102.92 per barrel.
Gold futures faltered once again, after snapping their
nine-session winning streak in Wednesday's trading. By the time the
dust settled, the April contract had given back $3.50, or 0.3%, to
close at $1,316.90 an ounce.
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