"What can you say, the S&P 500 reached another new all-time
closing high (barely)," observed Schaeffer's Senior Technical
Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT. "After the market stumbled through a
rough patch earlier this month, buyers have stepped up in a big way
and we are now looking at a six-month winning streak for the
S&P. I also liked to see small-caps leading again today.
They've been on a tear of late, and could be sparking the next leg
of this bull market." Turning to blue chips, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
enjoyed a triple-digit gain but ended the day shy of a new all-time
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
- Markets start the day with solid gains, pending home sales
top expectations, and Nokia (
) bears jump ship.
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
moved higher out of the gate and came within 50 points of its April
11 all-time peak in intraday activity. At the closing bell, the
index settled slightly off its highs of the day, up 106 points, or
0.7%, at 14,818.75. Two dozen Dow stocks closed higher on the day,
with Hewlett-Packard (
) and Microsoft (
) gaining 2.7% and 2.6%, respectively. Pacing the six
underperformers was Boeing (BA), which dropped 1%.
It was a photo finish for the
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
, which closed at 1,593.61 -- just a hair above its previous
all-time closing high of 1,593.37. During the session, the index
added 11.4 points, or 0.7%. Tech stocks were the day's
outperformers sending the
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
up 27.8 points, or 0.9%, to close at 3,307.02. In intraday
activity, the COMP pegged a new 12-year high of 3,315.33.
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
edged higher despite the market gains, adding 0.1 point, or 0.7%,
to close at 13.71.
A Trader's Take
"Europe got things started early, as Italy rallied hard on news
they were installing a new government," noted Detrick. "Back at
home, housing data came out at 10:00 a.m. Eastern that was better
than expected, and that sparked a good deal of buying. Elsewhere,
Japan and China were both closed, and overall volume was light
today. With the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank
decisions on interest rates due out later this week, light volume
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- Pending home sales rose a
better-than-expected 1.5% last month
to their highest level in almost three years, noted the National
Association of Realtors. Elsewhere, personal spending and income
both ticked up 0.2%
in March, noted the Commerce Department.
- Ratings services Moody's Corporation (MCO) and McGraw-Hill
Companies (NYSE:MHP) -- parent of Standard & Poor's -- moved
higher today after
settling a lawsuit
that was headed to trial in two weeks. While terms were not
disclosed, the lawsuit was seeking $638 million on behalf of 14
plaintiffs and alleged the ratings firms did not properly
disclose the risks behind some mortgage-baked securities.
- Overseas, the markets reacted positively to the installation
of Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who named his cabinet
members over the weekend. Newly appointed economy minister
Fabrizio Saccomanni said he hopes to bring
lower taxes and reduced borrowing costs
to the nation's residents.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
- Research In Motion Ltd (BBRY) was targeted by
short-term option bulls
- Long-term Nokia Corporation (
headed for the exits
- With the stock hitting another new annual high, First Solar
(FSLR) call buyers continued to bet on
- A strangle buyer expects
out of American International Group (AIG).
- Sprint Nextel Corporation (S)
suffered a downgrade
on the heels of impressive price action and strong earnings
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
High hopes ahead of this week's European Central Bank and U.S.
Federal Reserve meetings lifted oil futures today, as accommodative
monetary policy is seen as positive for commodity demand.
June-dated crude closed $1.50 higher, up 1.6% at $94.50 a barrel,
the highest settlement price for a front-month contract in nearly
As expectations for additional quantitative easing ramped up,
the price of gold followed, while the U.S. dollar weakened. June
gold futures added $13.80, or 1%, to close at $1,467.40 an ounce.
Gold has moved higher in six of the last eight sessions.
At the end of every market day, the staff at Schaeffer's
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major events and key market developments. Don't miss this
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