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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and S&P 500 Index (SPX) hit the ground running in July. Both indexes notched fresh record highs in afternoon trading, and closed the session in positive territory. Inspiring today's rally were well-received manufacturing reports both at home and in China, as well as stronger-than-expected U.S. auto sales data.

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

  • With the first trading day of the month already on the books, don't miss out on three of July's historical outperformers.
  • Also, check out which of today's top performers short-term option players couldn't keep their hands off of.
  • Meanwhile, weekly option traders zeroed in on Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) amid a couple of upbeat headlines.
  • Plus ... General Motors Company's (NYSE:GM) recalls haven't deterred buyers, GoPro Inc (NASDAQ:GPRO) gears up for its options debut, and MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) heads back below familiar resistance.
Trading Topic of the Week -- Ways to Win with Aggressive Trades: Don't invest in intrinsic value. If you're expecting a drastic pop or drop in the stock, why not juice your returns even further by capitalizing on the greater leverage of at-the-money options?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,956.07) shot to an all-time high of 16,998.70 -- within arm's reach of the round-number 17,000 mark -- and finished the session with a gain of 129.5 points, or 0.8%. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) enjoyed the biggest move among the 26 advancing Dow members with a 2.8% uptick, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) paced the four decliners with a 0.6% dip on the day.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,973.32) reached a record peak at 1,978.58, and closed the session 13.1 points, or 0.7%, higher. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,458.65) touched another 14-year high at 4,471.60, and maintained a 50.5 point, or 1.1%, gain at the closing bell.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.15), on the other hand, had a poor start to the month, losing 3.6%.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Motor vehicle sales for June were released today, and GM and Toyota Motor Corp (ADR) (NYSE:TM) were among the automakers celebrating positive results. Meanwhile, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) reported a 6% monthly decline in U.S. vehicle sales. (MarketWatch)
  2. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index also hit the Street today, showing the pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed minutely in June. In fact, last month's reading of 55.3 fell roughly in line with May's score of 55.4, and landed below economists' expected 55.8. (CNBC)
  3. Meanwhile, Wall Street is still buzzing about GPRO, which has tacked on almost 67% since its IPO last Thursday. Last night, CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) announced the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) will list GPRO options for trading as early as Monday, July 7. (MarketWatch)
  4. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) gained 1.5% today, after reaching a settlement related to its 2011 acquisition of software firm Autonomy. Under terms of the deal, shareholders will drop all charges against HPQ and its executives, and will work with HPQ to pursue charges against former Autonomy CEO Michael Lynch and CFO Sushovan Hussain.
  5. Yesterday's news-driven spike on MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) may have struck fear in the hearts of the equity's bearish fan base; however, today's retreat has likely relieved some of that tension.
EARNINGS

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

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