Benchmarks started the holiday shortened week on a positive note with the Nasdaq hitting a new record high on the back of gains in tech stocks. Meanwhile, positive economic data including record consumer confidence and home price data also boosted investor sentiment during yesterday's light trading session. Moreover, increase in oil prices led the energy sector to finish in the green.
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) rose nearly 0.1%, to close at 19,945.04. The S&P 500 gained more than 0.2% to close at 2,268.88. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,487.44, increasing 0.5%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) increased 4.1% to settle at 11.91. A total of around 4.13 billion shares were traded on Friday, significantly lower than the last 20-session average of 7.27 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 59% stocks that advanced, 37% declined.
Factors Behind Yesterday's Gains
Encouraging economic data played a vital role in helping benchmarks to end in the green yesterday. According to The Conference Board, Consumer Confidence Index gained from 109.4 in November to 113.7 this month, hitting the highest level since 2001. It also came higher than the consensus estimate of 108.6. Meanwhile, the S&P Case-Shiller Index rose in nearly 0.1% in October indicating rise in demand in housing market. It also increased 5.1% year on year.
These reports had a positive impact on broader markets, which in turn boosted technology sector. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) gained more than 0.4%. Key players from the sector including NVIDIA Corporation ( NVDA ), Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) and QUALCOMM Incorporated ( QCOM ) gained 6.9%, 0.6% and 0.6%, respectively. While NVIDIA holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Apple and QUALCOMM posses a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Moreover, record consumer confidence and indication of a healthy holiday season sales had a positive impact on retailers. Shares of Amazon.com, Inc. ( AMZN ) rose 1.4% after announcing that over a billion items were shipped this holiday season for Amazon Prime and Fulfillment customers. While the SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) gained nearly 1%, the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) rose around 0.4%.
Separately, steady increase in oil prices continued to boost energy sectors. Prices of WTI and Brent crude oil rose 1.6% and 1.7% to $53.90 a barrel and $56.09 per barrel. WTI crude hit the highest level in more than a year. These gains helped the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to gain 0.2% on Tuesday.
Stocks That Made Headlines
BP plc ( BP ) has agreed to shell out A$1.785 billion ($1.3 billion) for Woolworths Ltd.'s portfolio of Australian gas stations in a deal that will likely make the London-based oil company one of the nation's biggest fuel providers. ( Read More )
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