Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
pegged another multi-year high today, the tech-rich
Nasdaq Composite (COMP)
commanded the most attention, amid a slew of closely watched
earnings reports. "Better-than-expected earnings from Google (
) and IBM (
) sent the stocks higher, which helped give the COMP a leadership
role for much of the day," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst
Joe Bell. "Meanwhile, IBM pushed the Dow higher almost
single-handedly," he added.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including
- The House votes on the debt ceiling, GOOG is targeted by
analysts, and a tip for options traders in our tweet of the
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
traded in positive territory throughout the session, hitting a new
multi-year high in the process and advancing upon the 13,800
threshold. By the close, the Dow had added 67 points, or 0.5%. IBM
was the clear victor among the 12 winning Dow stocks, up 4.4% on
the day. Hewlett-Packard (
) brought up the rear, down 1.4%, and Coca-Cola (KO) was
S&P 500 Index (SPX)
spent time on both sides of breakeven but tagged a new peak of
1,496.13 in late-afternoon trading. The index eked out a gain of
2.2 points, or 0.2%, at the closing bell. The
Nasdaq Composite (COMP),
meanwhile, closed 10.5 points higher, up 0.3% after paring some of
its earlier gains.
As investors try to call a top to the recent rally, the
CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX)
edged higher despite gains in the major indexes. At the close, the
VIX was up 0.2%, or less than 0.1 point.
A Trader's Take
"The market was largely about technology today, with lots of
earnings news to digest," Bell observed. "But the much-anticipated
debt-ceiling extension was also agreed upon by the House of
Representatives. While the deal was widely expected, the proposal
calling for the suspension of congressional pay in the absence of a
budget deal was a nice public-relations touch," he quipped.
3 Things to Know About Today's Market
- The House of Representatives voted today to extend the U.S.
debt ceiling and allow the country's government to continue
borrowing through May 19. The Senate is likely to follow suit,
and President Obama is expected to sign the final version. But
even though there is short-term peace, a long-term battle could
be brewing. House Republicans have threatened to link the
debt-ceiling debate with possible spending cuts. And today Rep.
Paul Ryan, R-Wis. -- who was the GOP vice-presidential candidate
in the last campaign and is still chairman of the House Budget
Committee -- has said the coming debate should include a "big
down payment" on the national debt. That means more turmoil and
rhetoric could be coming, as well as a potential showdown. The
proposal passed today includes the clause that if a new budget
does not pass by April 15 in the House or the Senate,
policymakers will stop receiving their paychecks.
- Speaking of fiscal issues in the U.S., a new poll of global
investors shows the debt debate is believed to be the biggest
risk to the global economy this year. The Bloomberg Global Poll
found that 36% of respondents said the ongoing debt-ceiling
debate was their biggest concern, 29% percent of investors said
the European sovereign debt crisis was the largest threat, and
15% said it was the slowing Chinese economy. But the same poll
showed that 38% of the 921 randomly selected investors, analysts,
and traders felt the U.S. was the best place to invest this year,
followed by China with 31% and the European Union at 22%. And 53%
of investors feel the U.S. economy is improving.
- After Tuesday's relatively strong report on new home
construction, housing data remained at the forefront today.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's weekly index, the
number of mortgage applications climbed 7% during the week ended
Jan. 18, following a 15.2% surge in the previous week. Elsewhere,
home prices rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in November,
according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly
house-price index. Compared with November 2011, prices were up
5.6%, but are still well below the peaks reached in early
... An increasing number of companies are tired of their employees
being tired, and are doing something about it,
according to the
Wall Street Journal
. Companies such as Procter & Gamble (PG) and Goldman Sachs
(GS) are setting up programs and even on-site beds to allow workers
to get their 40 winks. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention reports that about 30% of all U.S. workers don't get
enough shuteye. And one Harvard study estimates that tired workers
mean a loss of $63.2 billion in productivity nationally.
Today's Top Tweet
"In a long options trade, you are at risk of losing 100% of
your money. So a 40% win on that is only a 0.4 reward to risk
(Prospectus), 8:47 a.m.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today
- Option players were optimistic that Under Armour (UA)
would have a quick upturn
after its earnings release later this week.
- Cisco Systems (CSCO) got a
lot of attention
in the options pits today following news that it was planning to
buy Israeli wireless firm Intucell for $475 million.
- Google (
) turned in a strong earnings report Tuesday, and
received several analyst upgrades today
- Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) got some
rare bullish attention
from options players today, with call volume nearly twice normal
levels ahead of earnings.
- The bears were counting on a less-than-stellar earnings
report from Juniper Networks (JNPR), however, with
more than 20 times the normal amount of puts
crossing the tape today.
Question of the Day
: Where can I find out if a particular stock offers LEAPS?
ecurities -- are securities that bridge the gap between aggressive
short-term option trading and traditional stock investing. One
downside to these long-term options, however, is that they are not
available on every optionable stock. LEAPS are rolled out when the
option exchanges determine there is enough trading demand and the
market makers are able to price and trade the contracts. An updated
list of equities with open LEAPS series is available
, via the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).
For a look at today's options movers and commodities
activity, head to page 2.
Crude futures were lower today, as the newly front-month March
contract slipped $1.45, or 1.5%, to $95.23 per barrel. Gold also
took a step back as the U.S. dollar gained strength. February-dated
gold futures settled at $1,686.70 per ounce, off $6.50, or
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