"It was all about Ben Bernanke today," observed Senior Equities Analyst Joe Bell. "When the Fed chairman's speech was released, the market definitely felt a little jittery, as stocks fell off a cliff. That didn't last long, though, as participants quickly bought the dip and the market ended with a pretty nice day in the black." At one point after the central banker's comments, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up more than 150 points.
Click through to see what else was on our radar today:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 13,090.84) climbed as high as 13,151.87 before lunchtime today, and held onto a large part of this gain through the end of the session. By the closing bell, the Dow added 90.1 points, or 0.7%. All but two of the 30 components recorded victories today, with Intel Corporation's (NASDAQ:INTC) 2.3% rise leading the way. Meanwhile, Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) dropped 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. The blue-chip barometer pulled back more than 0.5% for the week, but secured a 0.6% gain in August. This also marked the Dow's highest monthly settlement since April.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,406.58) reclaimed a seat atop 1,400 today, adding 7.1 points, or 0.5%. On the week, the SPX was held to a 0.3% loss, but leapt nearly 2% during for August -- finding its best monthly close since March.
Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 3,066.96) gained 18.3 points, or 0.6%, but couldn't reach atop breakeven for the week. The tech-rich index suffered a 0.09% weekly deficit. For the past month, however, the COMP soared some 4.3%, notching its highest monthly price since March.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 17.47) ended its four-session rise, and inched 0.4 point, or 2%, lower. On the week, the market's fear gauge surged 15.1%, but buckled 7.7% in August.
Today's highlight: "We didn't get a formal announcement for QE3 and the market still remained strong," said Bell. "With some people claiming the rally is dependent on further actions, it's always a good sign when the market rallies without any Fed actions."
Turning to today's major market stories...
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
Mid-Caps Nearing a Triple of March 2009 Lows
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