Upbeat Economic Data Propels Dow, S&P 500 to Record Highs


"Overall we had a nice day, with much of the momentum getting kick-started by strong overseas price action," observed Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "There were a lot of earnings and economic reports released, with initial jobless claims and the ISM manufacturing index coming in better than expected." As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) notched a triple-digit gain, and added yet another record day under its belt.

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

  • In the most recent installment of his Chart of the Day column, Schaeffer's Senior Options Strategist Tony Venosa, CMT, predicts what to expect from First Solar ( FSLR ) as earnings loom.
  • The latest edition of Weekly Contrarian takes a closer look at the skepticism surrounding Las Vegas Sands ( LVS ).
  • Downtrending Molycorp ( MCP ) attracted a crop of weekly call buyers and sellers on expiration eve.
    A multi-year low for initial jobless claims, Whole Foods ( WFM ) manages to best consensus earnings estimates, and Yelp ( YELP ) enjoys some upbeat brokerage attention.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 15,628.02) shot up to a record intraday peak of 15,650.69 within the first hour of trading, and finished the session with an advance of 128.5 points, or 0.8%, to hit a new all-time closing high, as well. The blue-chip bellwether's 24 advancers were led by American Express' (AXP) 2.5% gain, while a post-earnings Exxon Mobil (XOM) paced the five decliners with a loss of 1.1%. Alcoa (AA) remained unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,706.87) also touched an all-time intraday high of 1,707.85 -- as well as a record closing peak -- adding 21.1 points, or 1.3%, by day's end. It was the first-ever move (and close) above 1,700 for the index. Not to be outdone, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,675.74) hit another 12-year acme of 3,678.50 before ending with a gain of 49.4 points, or 1.4%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 12.94) spent the entire session in the red, and finished 0.5 point, or 3.8%, lower.



A Trader's Take :

"It was a great day for consumer discretionary and transportation equities," continued Bell. "Con-way (CNW) reported better-than-anticipated earnings, and almost every transportation stock remained strong throughout the session."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market :

  • The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its manufacturing index arrived at a stronger-than-expected reading of 55.4 last month. This latest figure not only marked an increase over June's reading of 50.9, but was the index's highest level since June 2011. (CNBC)
  • The Labor Department revealed that first-time jobless claims fell by 19,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. This drop exceeded the consensus view, and brought the number of initial unemployment claims down to a five-year low. (MarketWatch)
  • Whole Foods ( WFM ) reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $142 million, or 38 cents per share -- denoting a 21% increase from the year-ago period, and besting analysts' projections by a penny. The firm also upped its full-year outlook to a range from $1.45 to $1.46 per share, compared to the previous estimate of $1.43 to $1.45 per share. (Reuters)

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today :

  1. Yelp ( YELP ) received some positive brokerage attention following yesterday's turn in the earnings confessional.
  2. Short- and long-term speculators scooped up Potash Corp of Saskatchewan (POT) call options, despite today's new low.
  3. After posting strong quarterly earnings this morning, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) scored an analyst upgrade.
  4. Sentiment surrounding LinkedIn (LNKD) has been bullishly skewed ahead of tonight's earnings report.
  5. Speculators showed an rare interest in NVIDIA (NVDA) calls, focusing on the January series of options.


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



Commodities :

Crude oil futures finished higher today, as the latest round of economic reports increased expectations for energy demand. By the time the closing bell rang, September-dated crude gained $2.86, or 2.7%, to end at $107.89 per barrel.

Meanwhile, that same batch of economic data weighed on gold futures, as a subsequently stronger dollar resulted in the malleable metal's third consecutive close in the red. The December-dated contract fell $1.80, or 0.1%, to finish at $1,311.20 an ounce.


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

All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction of any SIR publication is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Options

Referenced Stocks: FSLR , LVS , MCP , WFM , YELP

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