Stock Market News for December 22, 2015

Benchmarks recovered from a sharp selloff last week to end in the green on Monday, led by gains in technology and hospital stocks. While gains in Apple and Microsoft boosted the technology sector, hospital stocks gained as more Americans signed up for health insurance coverage for next year. Global oil prices fell on Monday to a level not seen since 2004, while national average gasoline price fell below $2 a gallon for the first time since Mar 2009.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.7% to close at 17,251.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) advanced 0.8% to close at 2,021.15. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,968.92, increasing 0.9%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 9.7% to settle at 18.70. A total of around 6.8 billion shares were traded on Monday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.55 billion. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 64% stocks that advanced, 33% declined.

Gains in technology stocks had a positive impact on the broader markets. Shares of tech-behemoth Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) gained 1.2% on Monday. Apple has been under pressure this month as analysts predicted that it may fall short of its sales estimates.

Other key holdings from the sector including Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ), AT&T Inc. ( T ), Alphabet Inc. ( GOOGL ) and International Business Machines Corporation ( IBM ) increased 1.3%, 1.5%, 0.5% and 0.4%, respectively. Overall, the Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) advanced 1%, the second highest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors.

Gains in hospital stocks also boosted the broader markets. Shares of publicly traded hospital companies moved north on Monday after the U.S. government said that around 6 million people have signed up for Obamacare. Among those who have signed up, 2.4 million are new customers; an encouraging sign since there were concerns that benefits from the program were receding.

Shares of Tenet Healthcare Corp. ( THC ), Community Health Systems, Inc. ( CYH ), HCA Holdings, Inc. ( HCA ) and Universal Health Services Inc. ( UHS ) soared 11.6%, 10.5%, 4.9% and 3.6%, respectively.

Separately, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) gained 1.1% and was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Key consumer staples stocks including The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ), The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ), Philip Morris International, Inc. ( PM ), Pepsico, Inc. ( PEP ) and CVS Health Corporation ( CVS ) increased 1.1%, 0.7%, 0.8%, 0.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

Monday's gains came in as global oil price continued to decline on fears of a supply glut. Additionally, increase in U.S. oil rig count for the first time in five weeks last Friday also negatively impacted global oil price. The Brent crude oil declined 1.5% to end at $36.35 a barrel, its lowest settlement price since Jul 5, 2004.

However, the WTI crude oil price managed to gain a meager 0.03% to end at $34.74 a barrel. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) also settled in positive territory, gaining 0.1%. Key stocks from the energy sector such as Occidental Petroleum Corporation ( OXY ), Schlumberger Limited ( SLB ) and Valero Energy Corporation ( VLO ) increased 0.3%, 0.9% and 1.5%, respectively. Overall, Monday's gains were broad based with 11 out of 12 sectors of the S&P 500 ending in the green.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

APPLE INC (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report

MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report

AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

ALPHABET INC-A (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report

INTL BUS MACH (IBM): Free Stock Analysis Report

TENET HEALTH (THC): Free Stock Analysis Report

COMMNTY HLTH SY (CYH): Free Stock Analysis Report

HCA HOLDINGS (HCA): Free Stock Analysis Report

UNIVL HLTH SVCS (UHS): Free Stock Analysis Report

PROCTER & GAMBL (PG): Free Stock Analysis Report

COCA COLA CO (KO): Free Stock Analysis Report

PHILIP MORRIS (PM): Free Stock Analysis Report

PEPSICO INC (PEP): Free Stock Analysis Report

CVS HEALTH CORP (CVS): Free Stock Analysis Report

OCCIDENTAL PET (OXY): Free Stock Analysis Report

SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on click here.

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.

In This Story


Other Topics

US Markets

Latest Markets Videos


    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at

    Learn More