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Dow, S&P 500 End 2013 on a High Note

By: Schaeffer's Investment Research
Posted: 12/31/2013 4:19:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: AXP;CTRP;FB;JNJ;NFLX

"Although it was an extremely slow day for the markets, we still saw the release of the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, the Chicago purchasing managers index (PMI), and the Conference Board's consumer confidence index," said Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "Overall, the results were mixed, but the data didn't seem to affect the market too much either way." Nevertheless, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) , S&P 500 Index (SPX), and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) finished 2013 by tagging technical milestones and notching notable 52-week advances.

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


The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,576.66) touched an all-time intraday peak of 16,588.25 before ending the day with a rise of 72.4 points, or 0.4% -- notching another record closing high. For the year, the blue-chip bellwether advanced 26.5%. The Dow's 23 advancers were led by American Express Company's ( AXP ) 1.3% gain, while Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) paced the seven laggards with a drop of 0.8%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,848.36) tagged its own record intraday peak of 1,849.44, and finished the session with a climb of 7.3 points, or 0.4% -- denoting an all-time closing high. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,176.59) -- which reached a 13-year intraday high of 4,177.73 -- added 22.4 points, or 0.5%, on the day. For 2013, the indexes tacked on 29.6% and 38.3%, respectively.

Elsewhere, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.72) spent most of the session in the green, and was up 0.2 point, or 1.2%, by the closing bell. However, the "fear barometer" shed 23.9% on the year.



A Trader's Take :

"The market continued its strong upward momentum, and finished off the year on a positive note," Bell went on. "In the midst of all the doubt that surrounded this market at the beginning of 2013, it was quite remarkable to watch the major indexes climb the wall of worry throughout the year, and post one of the strongest returns we've seen in years."

5 Items on Our Radar Today :

  1. The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index arrived at 78.1 in December, up from the previous month's reading of 72.0. Economists, on average, were expecting a reading of 76.0. (Reuters via CNBC)
  2. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index spiked by 13.6% in October -- marking the largest year-over-year gain since February 2006, and besting the consensus view. (Bloomberg)
  3. International, Ltd. (ADR) ( CTRP ) attracted a bevy of call players -- including a February spread strategist -- despite today's drop.
  4. Bullish speculators zeroed in on Facebook Inc ( FB ) , showing a notable preference for weekly call options.
  5. Alcatel Lucent SA's (ADR) (ALU) sentiment backdrop reveals mixed attitudes among options players and covering analysts of late.

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



Commodities :

Crude futures drifted south today, as the February contract fell 87 cents, or 0.9%, to finish at $98.42 per barrel. However, oil climbed 7.2% on a year-over-year basis.

Meanwhile, gold futures edged lower again, with February-dated gold lopping off $1.50, or 0.1%, to close at $1,202.30 an ounce. For the year, the malleable metal shed 28% -- ending a 12-year winning streak, and marking its biggest annual loss in almost 30 years.