S&P, Dow Nearing All-Time Highs

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Most of the market continued rallying on Wednesday, leaving two of the major indices knocking on the door of new all-time highs. However, the tech space didn't join the party.

The Dow improved 0.61% (or about 160 points) today to 26,405.8. It's been a long time since this index was in record territory as it has struggled with concerns over the 10-year Treasury note eclipsing 3% earlier this year and the trade conflicts more recently. It last hit an all-time high of 26,616.71 on January 26, but today it is less than 1% away from that mark.

The S&P is even closer to making history after today's advance of 0.13% to nearly 2908. The index is about 0.2% away from its closing high of a little more than 2914 set just a few weeks ago in late August before this month's sluggish start. Yes, that's just about 6 points away.

But the NASDAQ didn't come along for the ride on Wednesday. The index was the best performer yesterday, but it just never got into a rhythm today as big members like Amazon and Netflix took a break from their uptrends. It declined 0.08% to 7950, though it did come off its lows by the closing bell. The NASDAQ sits about 2% away from its all-time high from late August.

"The market needs to breakout to new highs this week or we will likely get another pull back into the weekend. There still is trade war risk from China, but this fear seems to be dwindling with every negative headline," said Jeremy in Counterstrike .

Stocks are still enjoying yesterday's watered-down tariff news. The $200 billion of new tariffs on China were at 10%...not 25%. And China's retaliation of $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods was at only 10% as well. Will this get the two sides to finally talk about ending all this quarreling on trade? The market is hoping it will eventually, because it would much rather focus on this strong economy.

Today's Portfolio Highlights:

Momentum Trader: Several off-the-radar stocks have been surging of late, so Dave decided to pick one for his latest addition to the portfolio. Champions Oncology (CSBR) measures the response of tumors to potential drugs, which saves a lot of money for biopharma companies in preclinical studies. The stock has been breaking out to new highs ever since its quarterly report last Thursday when earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 400%. CSBR has become a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) as earnings expectations for this year and next have jumped in the past 7 days. Dave added CSBR on Wednesday with a 12.5% allocation. Read the full write-up for more on this new buy.

Home Run Investor: This portfolio is always on the lookout for stocks with good growth and consistent execution. Brian Bolan sees both of those traits in Acxiom (ACXM), which integrates data, services and technology to create and deliver customer and information management solutions. In other words, it's a big data play. The company has an impressive streak of beating quarterly earnings estimates. In fact, it has put together an average surprise of 36% in the past four. The only thing out of the norm for this pick is its status as a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The editor went a little outside of the box because he likes ACXM's slow and steady pace. Learn a lot more about this new addition in the complete commentary.

Insider Trader: Do you know which space just can't get enough of a contentious election season? Television! Political advertising revenue in the second quarter doubled the same period in the 2014 midterm election cycle. One beneficiary of this engaged electorate is E.W. Scripps (SSP), a television company that reaches 19% of U.S. households and is looking to add more stations. Earlier this week, a couple insiders picked up shares of their own company, and what Tracey really appreciated was that they used a 10b5-1 plan. It's basically a buying (or selling) plan that allows the insider to schedule moves even during quiet periods. The editor bought SSP on Wednesday with a 10% allocation. Read the full write-up for more.

Options Trader:"Stocks closed mixed but remain within striking distance of their all-time highs.

"Traders continue to take the tariff issues with China in stride. And this is largely because analysts are not expecting the tariffs to have much of an impact on earnings or our GDP. And also because the back and forth with tariffs isn't the end game -- it's a tool each party is using as leverage to advance trade talks that will ultimately result in a fairer deal for all. That's the end game and it's full of positives.

"Regarding our friends to the north, I can't believe it's been two weeks after the self-imposed deadline with Canada to reach a trade agreement has come and gone. This was supposed to piggyback onto the agreement we made with Mexico to forge a new NAFTA. Reps from both sides keep expressing their optimism that progress is being made. Hopefully we'll get an actual announcement that a deal has finally been agreed to soon. Until then, the market is hopeful, but waiting nonetheless." -- Kevin Matras

Have a Great Evening,

Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios:

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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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