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S&P 500 Tags Another New High On the Heels of GDP, Jobless Claims Data

Gold loses ground for fourth consecutive session, while oil ends higher

by 5/29/2014 4:20:02 PM
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"This morning, investors were greeted with a pretty poor preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) number for the first quarter of 2014, but it did little to shake their confidence," noted Schaeffer's Senior Equity Analyst Joe Bell, CMT. "The bond market dipped into negative territory and the stock market trudged higher, with many investors hopeful for a better second quarter." While the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) didn't nab a new high -- unlike the S&P 500 Index (SPX) -- the blue-chip bellwether did continue to gain ground, settling modestly higher for the session.

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

Trading Topic of the Week -- Tips for Buying Weekly Options: Look for a catalyst. Check the stock's fundamental, technical, and sentiment data to pinpoint possible triggers for a big move.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 16,698.74) closed at its intraday peak, up 65.6 points, or 0.4%, bringing its year-to-date gain to 0.7%. All but five of the Dow's 30 components moved higher today, with Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) leading the charge, up 2.3%. The day's biggest laggard was Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), down 0.6%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,920.03) put another new all-time high in the books, as it also ended the session at its intraday high-water mark. The index added 10.3 points, or 0.5%, by the closing bell. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,247.95) also rose, climbing 22.9 points, or 0.5%.

After moving higher the past two days, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 11.57) posted a slight decline, shedding 0.1 point, or 0.9%, for its fourth consecutive close below 12.



A Trader's Take:

"Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to get a lot of attention, with several analysts reacting positively to the company's purchase of Beats Electronics," added Bell. "The strong momentum in the stock continues, as it has rebounded nicely from its underperformance in 2013 and once again finds itself in the neighborhood of its former all-time high."

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The U.S. Commerce Department's preliminary estimate for first-quarter GDP revealed a 1% decline on an annualized basis, the first pullback in three years. Economists chalked this up to a historically rough winter, and are expecting the reading to rebound in the current April-June period. (The Associated Press, via CBS News)
  2. First-time filings for unemployment benefits dropped by 27,000 the week ended May 24, to a seasonally adjusted 300,000. Economists were expecting a more modest decline to 318,000. Elsewhere, pending home sales inched up by a smaller-than-expected 0.4% last month, per data from the National Association of Realtors. Since last April, the index has dropped 9.2%. (FOX Business; CNBC)
  3. Merger mania in the meat sector continued, with Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN) emerging as a new suitor for Hillshire Brands Co (NYSE:HSH). The poultry giant offered up a $6.8 billion unsolicited bid, upstaging an existing $6.4 billion proposal on the table from Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (NASDAQ:PPC). The Tyson offer values Hillshire at $50 per share, or a 35% premium over its price earlier this month (prior to any buyout buzz). (The New York Times)
  4. How options traders reacted to a potential deal between T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) and Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S).
  5. A sizeable put trade transpired on Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), as one trader placed a large bet on a steep pullback (or hedged against one).

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

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