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Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P Blaze a Trail Higher After Fed Minutes

The DJI barreled higher after the latest Fed meeting minutes

by 8/20/2014 4:21:30 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) spent most of the session cautiously higher, but made a decisive move into the black in the wake of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting minutes. While members voted to maintain the status quo on tapering, some central bank officials made a case for a "relatively prompt" rate hike in light of an improving job market. Wall Street will hone in on the Fed again on Friday, when Chair Janet Yellen will speak at the policymakers' annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. By the time the dust settled, the Dow tacked on 60 points, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) touched another new peak, and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) came within a stone's throw of an all-time closing high.

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

  • Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) extended its quest for new highs, and option players expect the stock to go even deeper into triple-digit territory.
  • Fellow smartphone maker BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) was also a favorite among bulls as traders await the Passport launch.
  • Option speculators -- and a handful of private equity firms -- are in hot pursuit of Shutterfly, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFLY).
  • Plus ... Plosser takes the road less traveled, Hamas warns Israel-bound airlines, and Amicus Therapeutics reports solid drug data.
Trading Topic of the Week -- Reasons to Dodge Directional Risk: Take the pressure off your directional forecasting skills. If the stock looks poised for a big breakout -- but it's hard to tell which way the bull/bear scales are going to tip -- a straddle allows you to hedge your bets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,979.13) gained 59.5 points, or 0.4%, as 22 of its 30 components ended higher. The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) led the advancers for a second day, adding 2.9%, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) paced the eight laggards with a 0.8% retreat.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,986.51) tacked on 4.9 points, or 0.3%, to settle just below its all-time closing high of 1,987.98. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,526.48) touched a 14-year peak of 4,533.01 in intraday action, but an eleventh-hour pullback snapped the tech-rich index's winning streak, with the COMP landing 1 point, or 0.02%, lower.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.78) fell 0.4 point, or 3.5%, to mark its first finish south of 12 since July 24.

CLOSING SUMMARY  INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY  NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. After much debate, most Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) members agreed that while the labor market is improving, they aren't ready to expedite an interest rate hike, the latest FOMC meeting minutes showed. Specifically, the FOMC voted 9-1 to maintain its accommodative stance, with Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser the lone dissenter. Now, all eyes turn to the central bank's annual retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Fed Chair Janet Yellen is slated to speak on Friday. (MarketWatch)
  2. President Obama today promised that "justice will be done" to ISIS militants who beheaded American journalist James Foley, and said "the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder." Elsewhere in the Middle East, after breaching the latest cease-fire in Gaza, Hamas warned of more rocket attacks, naming Israel's Ben Gurion airport a strategic target. (USA Today; AP, via CNBC)
  3. Solid drug data earned Amicus Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOLD) a pair of price-target hikes, and ushered the stock to a new annual high.
  4. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE:AMD) option traders are betting against a rebound.
  5. Youku Tudou Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:YOKU) earnings failed to impress the brokerage bunch.
EARNINGS

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

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