"For the second day in a row, it was all about Mario. News reports surfaced that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is considering additional stimulus, with bond buys, a rate cut, and a new long-term refinancing operation program all on the table," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. "We also got word that German Chancellor Merkel took time away from her vacation to speak with the French president, and all indications point toward an agreement to do what it takes to support the euro zone." Closer to home, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) made it two days of triple-digit gains, rising more than 229 points to its session peak.
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
- Feeling a little bearish? Now could be a good time to short Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) .
- 3 reasons to keep an eye on General Electric Company ( GE ) .
- As the euro approaches familiar technical levels , think options.
And now, a look at the numbers...
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,075.66) rocketed to its intraday high of 13,117.74 in afternoon trading today, and held on to most of its gains when all was said and done. The Dow marked its loftiest daily close since May 3, jumping 187.7 points, or 1.5%. All 30 blue chips climbed higher today, with Merck & Co., Inc.'s ( MRK ) earnings-related 4% rise leading the charge. The Dow enjoyed a weekly return of 1.9%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,385.97) also ended at its highest point since May 3, surging roughly 26 points, or 1.9%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,958.09) turned in the best performance of its fellow benchmarks, soaring 64.8 points, or 2.2%. On the week, the SPX tacked on 1.7%, and the COMP increased 1.1%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 16.70) suffered its third straight pullback, lopping off 4.7% and closing just atop its daily low of 16.52. The VIX was still able to notch a 2.6% win for the week.
Today's highlight : "We finally broke free of the recent trading range," acknowledged Bell. "The SPX cleared its hurdle near the 1,380 area, while the Dow shot above the round-number 13,000 level. Both respective indices have taken out their previous June and July peaks, which is a good sign for the market as July comes to a close."
Turning to today's major market stories...
- Too much optimism could lead to further selling on downtrending OmniVision Technologies, Inc. ( OVTI ).
- See why it could pay off to go short on Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) in the near term.
- Out-of-the-money call buying heated up on Travelzoo Inc. ( TZOO ) .
- Two blue chips made the new highs list today, as QLogic Corporation (QLGC) was one of the few equities tagging a new low.
- Option bears snapped up pre-earnings bets against Atmel Corporation (ATML) , while one bullish speculator sold puts ahead of Coach, Inc's (COH) quarterly results .
- Covered calls were used to protect against any short-term weakness in Salesforce.com, inc. (CRM).
- A bear put spread was implemented on Yelp Inc (YELP) .
- Schaeffer's columnist Adam Warner answered an email about a hypothetical trade on Facebook, Inc (FB) .
- Analysts weighed in on telecom stocks Sprint Nextel Corporation (S) and Alcatel Lucent SA (ALU) , which received after-earnings analyst adjustments today.
- A look at one of the Dow's "oldest and most important component issues": General Electric Company ( GE ) .
- Trade options on the euro ? Schaeffer's contributor Alan Knuckman explains more.
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
Crude futures were up for a fourth session in a row today, despite an expected dip in the U.S. economy. As traders applauded Germany and France's move to support the euro, the greenback weakened, giving the dollar-denominated commodity a welcome boost. By the close, oil for September delivery gained 74 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $90.13 a barrel. For the week, though, oil slid 1.4%.
Up now for three days, gold futures were also able to fight off early GDP-related weakness on the upbeat sentiment surrounding the euro. As the dollar took a hit, August-dated gold inched up $2.90, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,618 an ounce -- a new three-week high. The precious metal notched a 2.2% rise for the week.
Levels to watch in trading...
- Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 13,075.66) - support at 11,500; resistance at 14,000
- S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,385.98) - support at 1,100; resistance at 1,500
- Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 2,958.09) - support at 2,400; resistance at 3,400
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