"We had a slew of better-than-expected economic reports this morning, as initial jobless claims, factory orders, and the ISM non-manufacturing index all surpassed most estimates," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The market managed a small gain, as many participants continue trying to predict if the Fed will begin tapering its bond-buying program at its September meeting." To that end, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed the session with a modest advance.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 14,937.48) tagged an intraday high of 14,987.47 within the first hour of trading, but gradually pared its gains throughout the session. Nevertheless, the blue-chip barometer still managed to finish 6.6 points, or 0.04%, higher. The Dow's 15 advancers were led by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) and American Express (NYSE:AXP) -- both of which added 0.9% -- while Home Depot (NYSE:HD) paced the 15 laggards with a decline of 1.6%.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,655.08) also touched a session peak of 1,659.17 during the morning hours of trading, and ended with a modest gain of 2 points, or 0.1%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 3,658.78) rose 9.7 points, or 0.3%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 15.77) spent most of the day in the red, sinking to an intraday low of 15.63 during the latter half of the session. By the close, the "fear barometer" was off 0.1 point, or 0.7%.
A Trader's Take:
"After some volatility and heavy selling during the past couple of weeks, the downward momentum has definitely slowed, and it seems like many of the major sectors are starting to regain their footing," Bell went on. "With Syria looming and the Fed decision right around the corner, there is still a healthy dose of uncertainty surrounding this market."
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