Apple Rises While Bitcoin Dives; Time To Buy Nvidia, AI Stocks?

The Dow marked a new record high Thursday as stocks extended early gains and Apple ( AAPL ) remained on track to end a three-day slide.

[ibd-display-video id=3075300 width=50 float=left autostart=true] SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DIA ), SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ) and PowerShares QQQ Trust ( QQQ ) were all up 0.5% each. Small caps led with iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ( IJR ) and iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) soaring 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

Apple climbed 0.5% as it continues to find support along the 50-day moving average. It had cleared a 176.34 flat-base buy point Dec. 18 before pulling back. The iPhone maker will report quarterly results Feb. 1 after the close.

Energy, homebuilders and retail were among top sector fund gainers in the stock market today . Oil ETFs surged along with West Texas intermediate oil prices , which rose 1% to $64.21 a barrel. SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production (XOP) leapt 3.2%, while VanEck Vectors Oil Services (OIH) added 2.8%. XOP is at its highest level in nearly 11 months; OIH is trading at its best level since April.

Gold plays also gained with the underlying commodity's futures.

But real estate, utilities and consumer staples lagged. Bitcoin extended its loss to 8% to around $13,752, according to CoinDesk . The digital currency was down from an earlier rise to $14,942.61. Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) sank 8, poised to extend its decline for a fourth straight session. South Korea, Bitcoin's biggest market, said it's working on a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading.

Ready For AI?

Robots and artificial intelligence are no longer a science fiction fantasy. Companies like iRobot (IRBT) and Nvidia (NVDA) are practically household names.

Investors looking to own shares of such companies might take a look at Robo Global Robotics & Automation (ROBO). The exchange traded fund is extended from a mid-December rebound off its 50-day moving average . But it remains in potential buy range from a flat-base entry at 42.69.

ROBO has advanced 7% from the recent pullback to the 50-day. Prior to that, shares rose 24% from a mid-July bounce off the support line to their Nov. 24 intraday high.

The four-year-old fund, which tracks the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index, has attracted $2.2 billion. North America accounted for the biggest regional weighting as of Jan. 8, at nearly 44% of assets, according to Morningstar Direct. Greater Asia was next at 34%, with Japan representing more than two-thirds of the region. Greater Europe made up the remaining 22%.

Top 10 holdings in the 97-stock portfolio included laser maker IPG Photonics (IPGP), offshore oil and gas outfit Oceaneering International (OII), cleaning robot maker iRobot (IRBT) and Japan's Fanuc and Daifuku. Further down the list are names such as Zebra Technologies (ZBRA), Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and graphics chip designer Nvidia. The components are roughly equal weighted at 1% to 2% each.

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Nvidia was a big winner last year, scoring an 81% gain. It's notched a 16% return so far this year. The Santa Clara-based company made a splash early this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announcing Uber as a self-driving partner, as well as new deals with Volkswagen (VKLAY) and Baidu (BIDU).

The fund is leading the broader market so far this year with a 5.8% return through Jan. 9 vs. 3% for the S&P 500. ROBO's one-year gain of 48.5% and three-year average annual return of 20.6% also beat the benchmark index, which clocked respective advances of 23.7% and 12.7% for those periods.

The ETF carries a 0.95% expense ratio.

Another robotics play, Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence (BOTZ), is also in buy range from a flat-base entry. The ideal buy point is 25.07. The $1.8 billion fund was featured in this ETF column on Jan. 2 as it staged a solid rebound off its 50-day line. Shares are up 7% from the support line. BOTZ's top holdings as of Jan. 8 included Nvidia, Fanuc, Intuitive Surgical and Daifuku.


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

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

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