Bulls Brush Off Tapering Jolt, Dow Hits New Closing High
"We had a pretty poor advance reading of the first-quarter gross
domestic product (GDP), but most market participants remained
patient to hear the Fed's statement this afternoon," observed
Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Well, the Fed
pretty much did what was expected, and the market reacted in turn.
Most sectors finished the day slightly higher, though we saw a
short-lived pullback following the announcement." The
Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI)
spent the majority of the day in the green, getting within 40
points of its all-time high at its intraday peak before closing
with a modest gain.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including :
- Crunching the numbers to reveal the best and worst stocks for May .
- Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner breaks down the data to reveal what has proven to be the best allocation strategy of 2014 .
- Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR ) plunged after earnings, but that didn't stop these bulls from betting on a quick rebound .
- Plus ... The Fed announces more tapering, the private sector adds more jobs than expected, and Yelp Inc ( YELP ) bulls bet on an earnings-driven bounce.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,580.84) zigged and zagged throughout the session, ultimately coming to rest on a gain of 45.5 points, or 0.3%. This was enough to secure a new closing high for the blue-chip index. The Dow's 17 advancers were paced by 3M Co ( MMM ), which added 1.1% today. At the back of the pack was Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ), which gave back some of its recent gains to close off 1.5%. In April, the Dow gained 0.7%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,883.95) pressed higher as well, closing up 5.6 points, or 0.3%. Despite weakness in some of its larger components, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,114.56) fought to secure a gain of 11 points, or 0.3%. The SPX rose 0.6% in April, while the COMP surrendered 2%.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.41) continued to tumble on the day, settling with a loss of 0.3 point, or 2.2%. On a month-over-month basis, the market's "fear gauge" lost 3.4%.
A Trader's Take :
"One positive sign today was that the Fed stated they are seeing a pickup in economic activity following a very rough winter in the United States," added Bell. "This is definitely something the market will continue to monitor, but I take it as a good sign that they are attributing at least some of the poor performance the past few months to winter, and not a broader slowing of the economy."
5 Items on Our Radar Today :
- The Federal Open Market Committee emerged from its two-day policy meeting with plans to scale back its asset-buying program to $45 billion per month. This represents another monthly reduction of $10 billion, bringing the total tapering in monthly purchases to $40 billion. The central bank left interest rates unchanged, but reiterated its timeline for adjusting the federal funds rate. (FOX Business)
- The U.S. economy expanded by just 0.1% in the first quarter, according to the advance GDP reading. The figure was short of economists' estimates and the fourth-quarter rate of 2.6%. Elsewhere, the private sector added 220,000 jobs in April , according to ADP, topping economists' expectations. What's more, the March reading was revised higher to reflect gains of 209,000. (Forbes; USA Today)
- Twitter Inc ( TWTR ) was a drag on the tech sector today , after announcing its first-quarter earnings last night. Investors focused on the company's rate of user-base growth, which slowed to 25% from 30% the previous quarter. Revenue, however, doubled to $250 million, edging past analysts' estimates. TWTR shares lost 8.6% on the day and logged a new all-time low of $37.24. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
- Last-minute speculative bulls were active in the Yelp Inc ( YELP ) options pits ahead of the company's earnings report.
- As Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) muscled to another new annual high, option bulls displayed confidence toward the remainder of the week.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
Crude oil backpedaled today, following the U.S. Energy Information Administration's report, which revealed commercial crude inventories increased to a new record of 399.4 million barrels. The June contract lost $1.54, or 1.5%, to settle at $99.74 per barrel. In April, black gold slipped 1.8%.
Gold futures were marginally lower in today's trading, but continued to drift into the red after hours, following the Federal Open Market Committee's policy statement. At the bell, gold for June delivery was down 40 cents at $1,295.90 an ounce. On a monthly basis, gold edged slightly less than 1% higher.