The bulls showed some resilience today, with the major equity indexes bouncing back from the previous session's steep decline. Ahead of the bell, traders seemed a little less panicky about the upcoming Greek debt swap, as a number of major creditors confirmed their intent to participate in the voluntary restructuring. Domestic news was equally reassuring, as ADP announced that the private sector added a stronger-than-forecast 216,000 jobs last month. However, it was a report from The Wall Street Journal that truly cemented the day's rally, with the newspaper suggesting that Federal Reserve officials have a few more unorthodox easing measures at the ready, should the need for additional stimulus present itself. By the close, stocks were comfortably higher, although they couldn't quite claw all the way out of Tuesday's hole.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,837.33) advanced 78.2 points, or 0.6%, as 23 of its 30 components closed higher. Bank of America (BAC) blazed the path higher for the bullish majority, adding 4% by the close. Meanwhile, Kraft Foods (KFT) paced the seven laggards, giving up 1.2% after a downgrade to "hold" at Jefferies. Today's gain propelled the Dow back above its 40-day moving average, as well as the round-number 12,800 level -- both of which were breached in the course of Tuesday's sell-off.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,352.63) edged up 9.3 points, or 0.7%, to reclaim the 1,350 level. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,935.69) notched the largest daily win, rising 25.4 points, or 0.9%. However, the COMP peaked squarely at 2,940 in intraday action -- which marked its session low on Monday, prior to Tuesday's bearish gap.
Turning to equities in focus, Pandora Media (P) disappointed analysts by unveiling a steeper-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter, along with a weak first-quarter forecast ... American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) rallied on the heels of its upbeat margin guidance ... Shares of Canadian Solar (CSIQ) plummeted after a poorly received quarterly report ... Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $4 per share, besting analysts' bottom-line estimates ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from Troy Patterson, Slate.com's TV critic. While discussing CNN's unnecessarily high-tech "virtual convention" during last night's Super Tuesday coverage, Patterson observed:
"With all the money they spend bringing empty ideas like this to fruition, they could hire someone to make sure that ideas like this do not come to fruition."
But these weren't the only headlines hitting the Street today. Click on the links below for our blog coverage of:
And, in case you missed it, Senior Trading Analyst -- and resident straddle expert -- Bryan Sapp recently co-hosted a volatility webinar with analysts from Cyber Trading University (CTU) and Diversified Trading Institute (DTI). Click here to hear what he had to say about adding straddles to your investment strategies.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
Mid-Caps Nearing a Triple of March 2009 Lows
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