Echoing Tuesday's wishy-washy session, U.S. stocks once again ran hot and cold today. Ahead of the bell, a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas highlighted a significant spike in planned layoffs for September, which initially cast a bearish cloud on Wall Street. However, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) reported a bigger-than-expected jump in private-sector jobs last month, which helped to ease jitters ahead of Friday's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report. Meanwhile, a stronger-than-anticipated report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), as well as escalating optimism about a plan to recapitalize European banks, also tipped the scales in the bulls' favor, with the major market indexes blazing a steady path higher in afternoon trading. By the time the bell sounded, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) notched its second straight triple-digit win, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite (COMP) tacked on a healthy 2.3%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 10,939.95) found itself more than 60 points lower in early trading, but eventually reversed course to end 131.2 points, or 1.2%, higher. Only four of the Dow's 30 blue chips stayed in the red, with McDonald's (MCD) pacing the minority with a 0.8% drop. Meanwhile, Walt Disney (DIS) led the 26 advancing equities, adding 5.5% on the heels of an upgrade to "buy" at Citigroup.
Likewise, the S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,144.04) shrugged off early weakness to end near a session high. By the close, the broad-market barometer tacked on 20.1 points, or 1.8%, to end north of its 10-day moving average for the first time since Sept. 20. Finally, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,460.51) also ended atop its 10-day trendline for the first time in more than two weeks, advancing 55.7 points, or 2.3%, by the close.
Turning to equities in focus, Acme Packet's (APKT) preliminary third-quarter figures fell short of expectations ... The Bank of New York Mellon (BK) was hit with a pair of lawsuits ... Buyout rumors helped Research In Motion (RIMM) rebound from new lows ... Option bulls migrated towards McDermott International (MDR) ... Credit Suisse lowered its rating on CarMax (KMX) ... Sprint Nextel (S) saw an iPhone-inspired spike in call buying ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from Bill Buster, one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street. As highlighted by this USA Today article, the movement -- in its 19th day -- is missing one key element: a specific list of demands. In fact, it seems the protestors aren't happy with anything, including donations from their own supporters, as evidenced by Butler's battle cry:
"No more canned food! We don't have any can openers and no place to cook it."
But these weren't the only headlines hitting the Street today. Click on the links below for our blog coverage of:
And, in case you missed it, Schaeffer's contributor Adam Warner used baseball stats to show why we shouldn't always use past data as future prologue. Click here for the latest installment of Outside the Box.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
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