Stocks Extend Gains on Promising Economic Data

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"The positive momentum from last week's reaction to the Fed's tapering decision has carried over into this holiday-shortened week," remarked Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The official start to the well-known 'Santa Claus' rally isn't until tomorrow, but the early weakness in December has so far shown to be a nice buying opportunity once again." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) , S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) extended their quests for record highs following this morning's encouraging economic reports.

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

plus...
    Personal spending gained ground in November, consumer sentiment hit a multi-month high, and a new deal for Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) triggered a bullish brokerage note .

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,294.61) jumped at the sound of the opening bell, and reached a record intraday peak of 16,318.11 around midday. The blue-chip barometer went on to finish 73.5 points, or 0.5%, higher -- securing another all-time closing high. The Dow's 22 advancers were led by Cisco Systems, Inc.'s ( CSCO ) gain of 2.1%, while The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ) paced the eight decliners with a loss of 0.7%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,827.99) was also parked in the green for the duration of the session, cruising to an all-time intraday peak of 1,829.75 around 12:30 p.m. ET. By day's end, the index was up 9.7 points, or 0.5% -- notching a record closing high. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,148.90) tagged a 13-year intraday peak of 4,149.30, and added 44.2 points, or 1.1%, by the close.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.04) extended last week's decline to finish the session 0.8 point, or 5.4%, lower.

CLOSING SUMMARY - INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY - NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take :

"The technology sector really stood out today, with Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) showing a lot of strength after securing a multi-year distribution agreement with China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL)," continued Bell. "This group has shown a lot of strength during the past several months, after lagging a bit over the first half of 2013."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The Commerce Department said personal spending increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in November, marking its fastest growth rate since June. Meanwhile, personal income edged up 0.2% -- a narrower gain than what was projected by economists. (MarketWatch)
  2. The final December reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index held at 82.5, versus November's final figure of 75.1. Although the latest reading was slightly shy of consensus estimates, it still marked the index's highest level since July. (Reuters)
  3. Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) scored a price-target hike following news of an iPhone deal with China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL).
  4. Bullish bettors forecast near-term gains for Alcatel Lucent SA (ADR) (ALU) by snapping up January-dated call options.
  5. Weekly call volume spiked on J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP) , after some encouraging sales data hit the Street on Friday.

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 declined slightly today, with the February contract falling 41 cents, or 0.4%, to finish at $98.91 per barrel.

Meanwhile, gold futures were dragged lower by a pair of upbeat economic reports. February-dated gold lopped off $6.70, or 0.6%, to close at $1,197 an ounce.

SCHAEFFER'S MARKET POSTURE



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This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , CSCO , F , PG , TWTR

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