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"It was yet another light day on the economic front," noted Schaeffer's Trading Analyst Peter Bryans. "New home sales data came out better than expected, and homebuilders continued their recent rally. Overall, it was a very low-volume day, as we headed into the long weekend. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit the 1,900 level again, however, and the small-caps in the Russell 2000 Index (RUT) rallied to close higher on the week." Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) continued its slow trek higher, edging into positive territory for 2014.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

Trading Topic of the Week -- How to Get Started with Options: Understand that options expire. Buy-and-holders must remember: With options, the stock needs to move in your favor -- and the sooner, the better.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,606.27) continued to gain ground today, closing 63.2 points, or 0.4%, higher on the day. For the week, the blue-chip index added 0.7%, and is now 0.2% higher on a year-to-date basis. Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) and Visa Inc (NYSE:V) paced the Dow's 20 advancers, and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) were unchanged on the day. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) led the decliners with a drop of 0.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,900.53) rose 8 points, or 0.4%, for its first-ever close above the 1,900 mark. Turning to tech stocks, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,185.81) gained 31.5 points, or 0.8%. For the week, the SPX rose 1.2%, while the COMP jumped 2.3%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.36) closed at a new annual low, down 0.7 point, or 5.6%. Week-over-week, the VIX shed 8.7%.



A Trader's Take:

"Technically speaking, the iShares Russell 2000 Index (ETF) (IWM) rallied back above its 200-day moving average," added Bryans. "While it has been a laggard this year, this could be a healthy sign for the market, should we get some additional follow-through in the higher-beta small-caps during the next few weeks. Some of the sectors and industries that have been beaten down recently -- such as homebuilders, consumer discretionary names, and tech stocks -- were among today's leaders."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The Commerce Department reported a 6.4% bump in sales of new single-family homes, hitting a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units to top economists' expectations. The inventory of new homes on the market edged 0.5% higher to a 3-1/2 year high of 192,000 units. (Reuters)
  2. HPQ shares rallied today after reporting fiscal second-quarter earnings (slightly ahead of schedule) that were roughly in line with Street estimates. The company also announced plans to reduce its workforce by 11,000 to 16,000 jobs, bringing the breadth of its restructuring efforts to up to 50,000 workers. (CNBC)
  3. Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. for levying sanctions against his country, which he said are having a "real impact." He did, however, express hopes for improved relations with Ukraine, as well as an improved business relationship with the West. (Reuters, via Yahoo! News)
  4. How one trader placed a $2.5 million bet on a sharp move in Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) shares.
  5. Options players -- particularly on the call side of the fence -- are taking advantage of low premium prices in Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) options.

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

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