U.S. stocks blazed a steady path higher today, as Wall Street applauded the latest central bank moves around the globe. Specifically, policymakers in China unexpectedly lowered their reserve requirement ratio for banks, while the Federal Reserve worked with a slew of major central banks to bolster dollar liquidity -- especially across the pond. And speaking of Europe, leaders from the euro zone approved another round of aid to Greece, and agreed on ground rules to expand the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which also fueled the bulls. Against this backdrop -- and thanks to promising employment stats from ADP and solid housing and manufacturing data -- the major market indexes soared more than 4%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbing into the black for the month. On the flip side, the CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX - 27.80) -- otherwise known as the market's "fear gauge" -- surrendered 9.3%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,045.68) finished at a session high, soaring 490.1 points, or 4.2%, to end north of 12,000 -- and its 10-day and 20-day moving averages -- for the first time since Nov. 15. In fact, not one of the Dow's 30 components settled in the red, with JPMorgan Chase (JPM) leading the pack with an 8.4% gain. Thanks to today's surge, the blue-chip barometer ended November with a 0.8% surplus.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,246.96) also ended near an intraday acme, advancing 51.8 points, or 4.3%, when all was said and done. Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,620.34) finished at a session best, tacking on 104.8 points, or 4.2%, by the close. However, while both the SPX and COMP conquered their 10-day and 20-day trendlines, the former index gave up 0.5% for the month, while the latter finished 2.4% lower.
Turning to equities in focus, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) unveiled a weaker-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter report ... Alaska Air Group (ALK) will replace bankrupt AMR Corp. (AMR) on the Dow Jones Transportation Average (TRAN) ... American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) beat top-line expectations for its third-quarter results ... OmniVision Technologies (OVTI) offered a weak outlook for the current quarter ... Barclays hit Southwestern Energy (SWN) with a downgrade and price-target cut ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from L.A. Times columnist Nita Lelyveld. Although the U.S. Postal Service is in dire straits, the Hollywood Post Office was recently packed to the gills, thanks to the debut of limited-edition, star-studded stamps from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). As Lelyveld observed:
"It isn't every day that Pamela Anderson shares billing with Pythagoras."
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 warned against holding tracking exchange-traded funds (ETFs) during a slow churn. Click here to read the latest installment of our Outside the Box blog.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
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