Stocks Fight Back on Strong Retail Sales


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"This morning, Citigroup Inc ( C ) reported better-than-expected earnings, and last month's retail sales report came in above the consensus," summarized Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Despite this positive news for these sectors, we didn't see really strong outperformance from financial stocks or retail names. Many of the high-beta names and tech stocks showed relative strength early on before facing some choppy activity during the afternoon." Up nearly 160 points at its intraday peak, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) enjoyed a solid triple-digit gain into the close.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,173.24) spent the session in the green and gained 146.5 points, or 0.9%, by the close, settling just shy of its intraday peak. All but three of the Dow's components moved higher on the day, led by Visa Inc (V), which added 2.2%. At the back of the pack were Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which each slipped 0.6% on the day.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,830.61) bounced up 14.9 points, or 0.8%, to close a chip-shot south of its daily high. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,022.69) moved back above the 4,000 mark, and settled the day with a gain of 23 points, or 0.6%.

Following last week's 22% jump, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.11) slipped back south of the 17 level today. By the close, the "fear barometer" had given back 0.9 point, or 5.4%.



A Trader's Take :

"We were definitely able to curb that downward momentum that occurred late last week, and the major indexes managed to close near their intraday peaks following a late-session surge," noted Bell. "With earnings season now underway, market participants will be looking forward to several catalysts in the coming weeks."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. Retail sales came in better than expected last month, rising 1.1% for the sharpest increase on the books since September 2012. Excluding vehicle sales -- which spiked 3.1% for the month -- retail sales expanded 0.7%. (Chicago Tribune)
  2. General Motors Company ( GM ) is dealing with a management shake-up amid a continuation of recall-related headlines. Today, the automaker said its heads of human resources and communications would be exiting their posts. A replacement has been found for the former position, while the chief of communications post remains unfilled. (AP, via Huffington Post)
  3. Bearish speculation in Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) options pits is approaching an annual high.
  4. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) suffered negative attention from Wall Street on the heels of Friday's poorly received earnings report.
  5. Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) bounced back from Friday's pullback, but remained popular among put players.


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



Commodities :

Geopolitical concerns sent oil futures to a six-week high today, as investors expressed caution over global supplies. The May contract rose by 31 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $104.05 per barrel.

Gold futures also moved higher, sparked by anxiety over rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Gold for June delivery added $8.50, or 0.6%, by the close, to settle at $1,327.50 an ounce. When comparing most-active contracts, this was the highest close for gold since March 21. Palladium extended its journey into two-year-high territory, with the June contract ending $4.70, or 0.6%, higher at $811.50.


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

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This article appears in: Investing , Options
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