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Dow Jones Industrial Average Conquers 17K, S&P Secures Record High

The DJI conquered 17,000 for the first time since July 24

by 8/21/2014 4:26:07 PM
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The bullish stars aligned today, as traders applauded solid big-cap earnings and a plethora of encouraging economic reports. Specifically, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) notched new highs after stepping into the earnings confessional, and Wall Street cheered stronger-than-expected reports on housing, manufacturing, and jobless claims. Against this backdrop -- and ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen's highly anticipated speech from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, tomorrow -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) ended north of 17,000 for the first time since July 24, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) assailed new heights.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Reasons to Dodge Directional Risk: Capitalize on expected volatility spikes. There are several technical and sentiment indicators that can tell you whether a stock is on the verge of some major volatility -- including Bollinger Bands and high levels of short interest.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,039.49) was up as much as 95 points at its intraday peak, but trimmed its lead to 60.4 points, or 0.4%, by the close. Twenty-five of the Dow's 30 components landed north of breakeven, with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) leading the advancers with a 1.9% gain. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) led the laggards with a 1.1% dip.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,992.37) added 5.9 points, or 0.3%, to secure a record closing high. Earlier in the session, the broad-market barometer peaked at 1,994.76. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,532.10) extended its streak of new 14-year highs, topping out at 4,534 in intraday trading before settling with a gain of 5.6 points, or 0.1%.

After an initial jump to 13.51 in early trading, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.76) erased its lead to end 0.02 point, or 0.2%, lower.



5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. First-time filings for unemployment benefits fell by more than expected last week, the Labor Department reported. Elsewhere, existing home sales rose for a fourth straight month in July, marking the fastest rate of growth this year, according to the National Association of Realtors. (Bloomberg; USA Today)
  2. U.S. factory activity ramped up at a faster-than-anticipated pace in August, according to Markit's flash purchasing managers index (PMI), which jumped to its highest point since April 2010. In the same vein, the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index soared by more than expected, landing at a three-year high. In China, however, manufacturing data wasn't so rosy. (Reuters, via CNBC; MarketWatch)
  3. In equity news, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) agreed to shell out a record $16.65 billion to settle federal mortgage probes, while Kindred Biosciences Inc (NYSE:KIN) plummeted on disappointing drug data. (Reuters)
  4. Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL) option players were active ahead of tonight's earnings report.
  5. A Transocean LTD (NYSE:RIG) option bear rolled the dice on decade-plus lows.

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

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