Trade News Sends Dow to Best Month Since January

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The Dow spent the whole session trading in positive territory, as blue chips 3M ( MMM ) and Boeing ( BA ) surged after Bloomberg reported potential progress in U.S.-China trade relations . Upbeat earnings reactions for blue chips Procter & Gamble ( PG ) and Pfizer ( PFE ) only created bigger tailwinds.

Tech stocks also had a strong day ahead of tonight's Apple ( AAPL ) earnings event, with the Nasdaq erasing an early morning deficit to close higher. This capped a strong July for U.S. stocks, with the Dow notching its best month since January, and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq extending their monthly win streaks to four.

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

  • History says to short this oil stock immediately.
  • The options market is pricing in a major earnings move for Fitbit.
  • The restaurant closure that sent Chipotle to its worst day in months.
  • Plus, a potential VMware bounce; the penny stock one analyst is buying; and crude futures sell off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 25,415.19) added 108.4 points, or 0.4%, on the day, and 4.7% on the month. Nineteen Dow stocks closed the day higher, led by 3M and Pfizer, which each added 3.5%. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) paced the 11 decliners with its 2.2% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,816.29) gained 13.7 points, or 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC - 7,671.79) rose 41.8 points, or 0.6%. In July, the SPX surged 3.6%, while the IXIC jumped 2.2%. 

The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX - 12.83) fell 1.4 points, or 10% -- bringing its monthly loss to 20.3%.

Closing Indexes Summary July 31

NYSE and Nasdaq Stats July 31

5 Items on our Radar Today

  1. Facebook (FB) said it removed a total of 24 Facebook and Instagram accounts it says were part of a coordinated effort to impact the U.S. midterm elections in November. FB stock closed up 0.9%, paring a portion of last week's sharp losses . ( CNBC )
  2. Casino operator MGM Resorts (MGM) said it inked a three-year deal with the NBA and WNBA to become the official gaming partner of the basketball league. ESPN says the three-year deal, which sent MGM stock up about 2%, is worth at least $25 million. ( Reuters )
  3. A rebound could be in store for VMware stock .
  4. One analyst initiated a "buy" rating on this underperforming penny stock .
  5. A surprise profit couldn't boost Shopify stock .

Corporate Earnings July 31

Unusual Options Activity July 31

Data courtesy of  Trade-Alert

OPEC Output News Pressures Oil Prices

Oil prices plunged today, after a report indicated the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crude output is at a year-to-date high. At the close, September-dated crude was down $1.37, or 2%, at $68.76 per barrel. For July, crude shed 7.3%.

Gold for December delivery closed the session up $2.10, or 0.2%, at $1,233.60 an ounce. Comparing most-active contracts, gold prices fell 1.7% in July -- their fourth straight month of losses.

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

This article appears in: Investing , Options
Referenced Symbols: MMM , BA , PG , PFE , AAPL

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