Stocks Continue to Bounce Back; Dow Approaches New-High Territory

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"Volatility and mixed price action continue, but we had another strong Tuesday today," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Coming into today, 15 of the last 17 Tuesdays have been positive, and today did not disappoint. Amid slightly worse-than-expected consumer confidence data, it was nice to see technology stocks show some strength after weeks of outperformance. Biotech, in particular, was among the top performers, and helped lift the sector as a whole." The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was in positive territory the entire day -- a change from Monday's tumultuous session -- and closed within 100 points of its all-time high.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,535.37) continued to move higher in Tuesday's trading, closing up 86.6 points, or 0.5%. Merck & Co., Inc. ( MRK ) rallied 3.6% on earnings news to lead the Dow's 20 advancers. The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ), meanwhile, brought up the rear, shedding 1.1% despite a positive brokerage initiation this morning.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,878.33) , also moved higher, tacking on 8.9 points, or 0.5%, to approach the critical 1,880 level. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,103.54) outperformed, rallying 29.1 points, or 0.7%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.71) retreated further south of the 14 level, giving back 0.3 point, or 1.8%, on the day.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Consumer confidence in the U.S. slipped this month, said the Conference Board, with the index's pullback to 82.3 falling short of economists' estimates. On the bright side, it was the second-highest reading of the last six years. The expectations index inched higher from March, while the present situation index suffered a modest dip. Elsewhere, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index edged 0.8% higher in February, coming in north of expectations. (Reuters)
  2. Merck earnings results were mixed for the first quarter , as per-share profit exceeded analysts' consensus view by a healthy margin, but revenue fell just short of the mark. The pharmaceutical name reiterated full-year earnings expectations of $3.35 to $3.53 per share. On the news, the stock gained 3.6% on the day and notched its highest intraday price since January 2008. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. Yelp Inc ( YELP ) and Barrick Gold Corporation (USA) (ABX) are among the names heading to the earnings confessional on Wednesday.
  4. Facebook Inc ( FB ) option bulls wagered on short-term gains in the social-networking stock.
  5. Ahead of its second-ever earnings report tonight, Twitter Inc (TWTR) saw elevated options activity, with traders focusing on neutral-to-bearish strategies.

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 :

Oil futures continued to gain ground today, with traders weighing the situation in Ukraine against concerns ahead of tomorrow's U.S. crude inventories report. The June contract added 44 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $101.28 per barrel.

Gold futures, meanwhile, continued to backpedal, as U.S. equities moved higher on the day. Gold for June delivery lost $2.70, or 0.2%, to settle the session at $1,296.30 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , FB , MRK , KO , YELP

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