Tech Stocks Lead Market Higher; Dow Notches New All-Time Peak


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"There weren't a lot of major events to start the week, but that doesn't mean the week will be dull," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "We are set to hear retail sales, inflation numbers, jobless claims, and housing starts. And after a strong start to the week, many participants will look toward this data to see how much the economy has improved after the rough winter." Shortly after the open today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) notched a new all-time high, and continued higher into the close, coming to rest on a triple-digit gain at a fresh closing peak.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Ways to Interpret Short Interest: Consider the short-to-float ratio . By checking out a stock's short-to-float ratio, you can quickly gauge how many traders are betting on the shares to drop.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,695.47) hit new-high territory out of the gate this morning, but secured its latest all-time peak of 16,704.84 shortly before the close. By the time the bell sounded, the blue-chip index had added 112.1 points, or 0.7%. Two dozen of the Dow's components rose on the day, led by General Electric Company ( GE ) and Nike Inc ( NKE ), which each gained 1.6%. Pacing the six underperformers was The Procter & Gamble Company (PG), which slipped 0.8%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,896.65) got within a fraction of a point from its own all-time intraday high, and settled on a gain of 18.2 points, or 1%, a new closing peak. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,143.86) outperformed its index peers, as technology stocks bounced following last week's slump. At the close, the COMP was up 72 points, or 1.8%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 12.23) hit an intraday low of 11.88 -- its first trip south of 12 since mid-January -- and closed down 0.7 point, or 5.3%. Since last Wednesday's intraday high of 14.49, the market's "fear gauge" has slipped 15.6%.



A Trader's Take :

"The big laggards of 2014 finally displayed some strength today, and small-caps performed very well," added Bell. "The consumer discretionary space took a leadership role ahead of the retail sales report that is set to be released this week."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The latest bit of merger-and-acquisition news saw Hillshire Brands Co (HSH) bidding $4.3 billion (or $6.6 billion including debt) for Pinnacle Foods Inc (PF). The deal -- Hillshire's third in a year -- will bring the Birds Eye, Wish-Bone, and Vlasic brands under the Hillshire umbrella. (Reuters)
  2. Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser spoke at the bank's Reinventing Older Communities conference. While he didn't speak to tapering activity or monetary policy, he did express concerns that the U.S. educational system is not properly equipped to prepare today's youth for "STEM" jobs, or those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
  3. Bank of America Corp ( BAC ) call sellers placed bets on short-term technical resistance.
  4. Another brokerage firm offered a vote of confidence for struggling Twitter Inc (TWTR) shares.
  5. Bearish speculators scooped up Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ) puts ahead of the company's trip to the earnings confessional on Friday.


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



Commodities :

Oil futures bounced back today, retaking the $100 level amid continued unknowns surrounding the Ukraine situation. By the close, June-dated futures had tacked on 60 cents, or 0.6%, to $100.59 per barrel. Natural gas futures, on the other hand, brought their losing streak to four, as the June contract dropped 10 cents, or 2.1%, to $4.43 per million Btus.

Gold moved higher for the first session in five, on rumors that India could look to loosen its current restrictions on gold imports. The June contract gained $8.20, or 0.6%, to close the session at $1,295.80 an ounce. Elsewhere, copper rallied to a two-plus-month high, spurred north by China's announced market reforms. By the close, the July contract had added 7 cents, or 2.2%, to $3.15 a pound.


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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