"In a repeat of the previous two days, the S&P 500 Index
(SPX) flirted with new all-time highs, but just couldn't break
through," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan
Detrick, CMT. "We've been saying 1,850 was a big area on the SPX,
and that sure has been the case. It is encouraging that the market
isn't just dropping hard from this level, but is instead pausing,
which is a plus. Not to mention the fact that small-caps led again
today. With the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) breaking out to new highs,
you have to like that. Overall, it looks like only a matter of time
before the SPX makes new highs. Perhaps a little more dancing
around these levels -- although frustrating to both bulls and bears
-- is necessary." Meanwhile, the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
trended above the breakeven mark for most of the day, before
settling with a slight gain.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
... Strong housing data, dovish comments from a Federal Reserve
official, and a massive bullish trade in Verizon Communications
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,198.41)
spent most of the day in positive territory, before settling with a
modest gain of 18.8 points, or 0.1%. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (
) led the Dow's 17 advancers with a gain of 2%, while McDonald's
) brought up the rear, losing 0.8% today. Johnson & Johnson
(JNJ) was unchanged.
S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,845.16)
edged up a fraction by the closing bell, rising 0.04 point. At its
intraday peak, the SPX overcame the 1,850 mark to touch 1,852.65.
Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,292.06)
neared a new 14-year high in intraday trading and settled up 4.5
points, or 0.1%.
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.35)
gained ground during the session, closing 0.7 point, or 5%,
A Trader's Take
"The best thing about today's market was easily housing. New
home sales numbers came out today," Detrick observed, "and they
were great. We've heard so much about how the bad weather has put a
damper on any and all economic data. Well, today's report was a
nice change, as it shows some real growth in the face of other
disappointing reports. The bottom line is that housing is a group
we've liked so far this year, and after today's action, many of the
stocks broke out to new highs. With housing and small-caps leading,
that bodes well for the overall market here. At the same time,
financials continue to lag, which is the one big problem area."
5 Items on Our Radar Today
- New home sales spiked 9.6% in January to
reach their highest level since mid-2008
, a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 468,000 units. One notable
pocket of strength was the Northeast, where sales surged 73.7%
despite brutal winter weather patterns.
- Eric Rosengren, head of Boston's Federal Reserve Bank, noted
today that the central bank
shouldn't rush to reverse monetary stimulus
in response to the recent drop in unemployment. "Monetary policy
should continue to be accommodative," he argued, "supporting a
return to full employment, given the very low inflation rates."
Rosengren disagreed with the majority's decision to begin
tapering asset-buying plans in December.
(Reuters, via CNBC)
Target Corporation (TGT)
fourth-quarter earnings report
, which was negatively impacted by the data breach suffered
during the holiday shopping season. Net income dropped 46%, but
still managed to top analysts' estimates. The retailing giant
warned that continued expenses related to the breach could weigh
on future earnings.
(Los Angeles Times)
Verizon Communications Inc. (
bull placed a $1.75 million bet targeting a move higher in the
next two months.
Walgreen Company (WAG)
has nevertheless been targeted by two types of put traders in
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
moved higher today, on news that supplies grew by less than
expected. April-dated futures rose 76 cents, or 0.8%, to $102.59
Gold futures pulled back for the first session in four, amid
better-than-expected home sales data. By the close, gold for April
delivery had surrendered $14.70, or 1.1%, to rest at $1,328 an
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