"We had some mixed economic data, but the bulls' ability to push things higher later in the day was impressive," noted Schaeffer's Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick, CMT, at the end of a mixed session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) slowly fought its way into positive territory by the close, settling with a minor 0.2% gain. The tech sector was not as fortunate, as two of its heavy hitters -- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) -- moved lower after an analyst downgrade and a highly watched product announcement, respectively.
Continue reading for more on today's market, including:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) explored a range of roughly 100 points during the session, gapping near its intraday low at the open and settling just shy of its intraday peak. By the close, the index had gained 28 points, or 0.2%. Seventeen of the Dow's 30 components moved higher, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) taking top honors with a 1.2% gain. Fellow tech bellwether Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) paced the 12 laggards with a 2.5% drop, and Alcoa (NYSE:AA) was unchanged on the day.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) charted a similar path as the Dow, closing up 1.7 points, or 0.1%, to end the day near its session high. Notably, the index came within 1 point of its annual peak of 1,474.51 during afternoon trading. Elsewhere, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was dragged lower by some of its mega-cap components, ending the day with a loss of 7 points, or 0.2%.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX) started the day solidly higher but closed with only a fractional gain after losing steam in the late afternoon. By the closing bell, the VIX had added less than 0.1 point, or 0.2%.
A Trader's Take:
"Today's price action in retail stocks was great," observed Detrick. "Retail sales came in better than expected and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) rose more than 2%. We've seen lots of talk about the economy slowing down, especially lots of paychecks a little bit less this year thanks to our government," he quipped, "but you have to be very impressed with retail stocks here and their ability to continually shake off bad news. Meanwhile," Detrick added, "we all know the market is over-extended on a near-term basis and is 'due' for a pullback. Yet -- with nearly everyone expecting this -- wouldn't it be something if Mr. Market keeps on moving higher?"
3 Things to Know About Today's Market:
Plus ... Samsung earned the distinction of becoming the most-tweeted brand at the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas last week. The Korean electronics name was popular across the social media platform as it unveiled several new products, including a flexible cell phone and a curved television. Including former U.S. President Bill Clinton in its keynote address didn't hurt the company's buzz, either. Other brands seeing plenty of Twitter activity during the four-day show were Sony, Panasonic, and LG.
Today's Top Tweet:
"I just met my new fiancé on the social graph! We're registered at FarmVille. $FB"
@ReformedBroker, (Downtown Josh Brown), 1:26 p.m.
5 Stocks We Were Watching Today:
Question of the Day:
Q: What is the "January effect?"
A: This refers to the tendency for stock prices to collectively rise during the first month of the year. The primary, though unproven, theory behind this phenomenon is that traders who sell out of positions in December for tax purposes are ready to re-enter the market when the calendar turns. Another theory is that holiday or year-end bonuses are committed to stocks during January. We are halfway through the month, and the broader market (as tracked by the S&P 500 Index), is up roughly 3.2%.
For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.
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