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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) blazed a steady path higher throughout the session -- catapulted by a stellar earnings reception for Visa Inc (NYSE:V) -- and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) kissed the 2,000 level before trimming its lead. Adding fuel to the bullish fire, the Commerce Department said U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) rose by more than expected in the third quarter, overshadowing an uptick in first-time jobless claims. It wasn't all rosy on the Street, though; the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) had trouble gaining steam, as tech stocks struggled to keep up with their blue-chip peers, while the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) suffered a mid-session setback.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,195.42) finished with a 221.1-point, or 1.3%, gain, and now stands in positive territory for the month. Visa led the 25 advancing blue chips, tacking on 10.2%, while Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) countered with a 4% drop.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,994.65) rallied as high as 1,999.40, but settled with a gain of 12.4 points, or 0.6%. The 2,000 level has eluded the broad-market barometer since mid-to-late September. Unlike its peers, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,566.14) spent a healthy portion of the session in the red, but eventually tacked on a relatively modest 16.9 points, or 0.4%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 14.52) spent most of the day cautiously lower, giving up 0.6 point, or 4.2%, by the bell.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. U.S. GDP grew at a 3.5% clip in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department, topping expectations for a 3% increase. Meanwhile, first-time filings for jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 last week. However, the four-week moving average of claims dipped to 281,000, staying beneath the closely watched 300,000 benchmark. (MarketWatch; Reuters)
  2. The Big Board experienced a brief glitch in afternoon action, blaming an issue with the Security Information Processor (SIP) -- the same mechanism cited for the "flash freeze" last summer. (CNBC)
  3. How option traders were placing their bets ahead of earnings from Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX).
  4. Analysts and option buyers predict higher highs for GILD.
  5. Analysts also applauded solid earnings and a CEO shift for F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:FFIV).

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

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