Dow Rebounds 100 Points, Breaks Losing Streak

SPX retakes 10-day moving average, COMP tops 3,000

by 12/17/2012 4:17:13 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

"Small caps and financials ripped higher today," exclaimed Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick after the closing bell. "When you see those two groups leading, it is a very nice sign." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) managed a triple-digit gain, and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) retook its perch above 3,000.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

plus...
  • Updates on the fiscal cliff and Apple's viability, a quick look at five stocks we were watching, and our Tweet and Question of the Day, which may help you face the end of the world.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) started the week on a positive note and pared some of last week's losses, rising 100.4 points, or 0.8%, and closing just shy of its intraday peak. Just three of the 30 Dow names were in the red for the day, with Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) bringing up the rear with a 3.7% loss. Taking the top slot, meanwhile, was Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), up 4% on the day.

Elsewhere, the S&P 500 Index (SPX) retook control of its 10-day moving average as it gained 17 points, or 1.2%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) overtook the round 3,000 level, meanwhile, with its gain of 39 points, or 1.3%.

The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) stepped back for the day, shedding 0.7 point, or 3.9%, to close near its intraday nadir.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

A Trader's Take:

"The headlines will tell you optimism over a coming fiscal cliff deal drove today's gains," observed Detrick. "I'm not 100% sure if that was the case. Everyone is still trying to figure out how this will impact the market, but if you look at the action in some of the higher-beta groups, it sure looks like they aren't worried. Housing also did great today," he continued, "but I'm more impressed with mid-caps. The S&P 400 MidCap Index (MID) found support right at the nice round 1,000 area. We continue to think if the MID can stay above this level, it's a major positive sign for equities in general."

3 Things to Know About Today's Market:

  • President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, spent what was likely a highly charged 45 minutes negotiating terms of a fiscal cliff solution. While the meeting sparked hopes of an agreement among attentive investors, a White House spokesman implied that the Obama Administration continues to hold firm to its version of the plan, while a GOP aide said Boehner will reject any proposal that is unlikely to secure enough Republican votes to pass.
  • As per usual, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) was the talk of the town; the company suffered multiple price-target cuts on Wall Street and briefly dipped to the $500 area before settling higher on the day. In other news, more than 2 million iPhone 5 models were sold in China over the three-day opening weekend, setting a company record for weekend sales of a new device in the world's second-biggest market.
  • The New York Fed's Empire State manufacturing index pulled back to negative 8.1 in December, down from last month's reading of negative 5.2. This suggests an accelerated pace of contraction in New York-area factory activity. The number surprised economists, who were expecting an improvement up to negative 1.0.

Plus ... in a story reminiscent of Ace Ventura, a Nebraska FedEx (NYSE:FDX) driver opted to dump close to 400 packages in the road rather than deliver them. Said driver has since been dismissed from the company, according to KETV in Omaha.

Today's Top Tweet:

"Friday is both triple witching as well as the end of the world according to the Mayans. Use a stop $$"
@ukarlewitz, 9:05 a.m.

5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:

  1. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) earned a price-target boost from Cantor Fitzgerald today, as the stock's outperformance continues.
  2. Bullish speculators hope to profit from a short-term pop higher in Ford Motor (NYSE:F).
  3. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) scored bullish analyst attention, pegged a new annual high, and lured short-term bulls to its option pits.
  4. Short-term call buyers are looking for a sharp surge in Molycorp (NYSE:MCP) this week.
  5. Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) call buyers headed en masse to the exits.

Question of the Day:

Q: What is a stop order?
A: Also referred to simply as "stops," these are orders to buy or sell a security when its price hits a certain point (on a move higher or lower). Once this level is reached, the stop order effectively becomes a market order. Although setting a stop order does not necessarily guarantee the predetermined entry or exit point -- due to market conditions -- these orders can help limit negative exposure (or lock in profits) on a position as the underlying moves higher or lower.

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

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