Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) jumped higher today, one major tech player took a bite out of the action. "Retail sales came in better than expected at 8:30 a.m., and had a significant positive impact on futures," said Equities Analyst Bryan Sapp. "However, the upbeat news was counteracted by Apple's price action. Since it represents a considerable percentage of the Nasdaq-100, this stock can singlehandedly move the markets."
Keep reading to see what else was on our radar today:
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI – 12,921.41) climbed as high as 12,986.77 after the midday mark, but pared some of its gains to turn in a respectable advance of 71.8 points, or 0.6%. All but six of the 30 blue chips finished with gains, as Travelers (TRV) paced the 24 winning equities with a 1.8% jump. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) led the laggards with a 1.1% drop.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,369.57) settled with a narrow loss, dipping by 0.7 point, or 0.05%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,988.40) notched the worst performance of its peers, and limped 22.9 points, or 0.8%, lower.
The CBOE Market Volatility Index (VIX – 19.55) finished totally flat, just below its session peak of 20.42.
Retail sales increased 0.8% in March to a seasonally adjusted $411.07 billion, according to the Commerce Department. The monthly gain surpassed expectations, as economists were predicting sales to rise just 0.3% from February. On a year-over-year basis, retail sales were up 6.5% last month.
Today's highlight: "Today, financials led the market, with the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) up roughly 0.8%, while the S&P 500 Index was nearly flat," Sapp observed. "Coming into this week, financial sector earnings were a big concern to me, given last week's price action. The move today is definitely a step in the right direction, as many companies in the sector are set to report this week."
Turning to equities in focus...
For today's activity in commodities, options, and more, head to page 2.
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