Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 Resume Quest for All-Time Highs; Crude Plunges

Weekly jobless claims remained below 300,000 for a ninth straight week

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Nov 13, 2014 at 4:19 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) returned to record-high territory following a one-day respite. Specifically, the blue-chip index topped out at a record 17,705.48, and notched its loftiest close ever at 17,652.79. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) also hit an all-time peak of 2,046.18, but settled slightly above breakeven as energy stocks got slammed on flagging oil prices. Elsewhere, the Labor Department released mixed data, as weekly jobless claims, hiring levels, and voluntary quits all rose. Looking ahead, retail sales figures and consumer sentiment numbers are on tap for tomorrow morning.

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

  • Eleventh-hour option bulls circled Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA), as the shares raced to new heights.
  • Options traders are divided on these 2 solar stocks, which both suffered significant setbacks today.
  • This Wall Street rookie hit a record high and attracted a gaggle of call buyers on the heels of a big earnings beat.
  • Plus ... The latest jobless claims data, BlackBerry Ltd's (NASDAQ:BBRY) new platform, and another 14-year acme for shares of this Internet giant.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,652.79) spent almost the entire session above the flatline and touched an intraday (and record) peak of 17,705.48, before closing at an all-time high -- up 40.6 points, or 0.2%. Twenty of the Dow's 30 components finished higher, led by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s (NYSE:WMT) earnings-induced gain of 4.7%. Among the eight blue-chip losers, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) fared the worst, slipping 1.8%. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) were both unchanged.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,039.33) hit a record intraday high of 2,046.18, but ended just 1.1 points above breakeven. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,680.14), meanwhile, added a modest 5 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.79) shot higher -- tacking on 0.8 point, or 5.9% -- for a second straight finish above 13.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week, but remained below 300,000 for the ninth consecutive week, the Labor Department reported. What's more, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), 2% of workers quit their positions in September -- the fastest rate in six-plus years -- which economists believe is an encouraging sign for wage growth. (Reuters)
  2. BBRY debuted a new mobile device management platform called BlackBerry Enterprise Service, or BES 12. The system -- which will be available early next year, and is compatible with Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google Inc's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android -- will allow corporations and government agencies to manage mobile devices on their secure internal networks. (CNBC)
  3. Yahoo! Inc.'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) latest decade-plus high didn't dissuade this group of bearish bettors.
  4. Investigating a recent seven-figure bet on Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F).
  5. Will shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) topple $75 by tomorrow's close? These short-term call buyers hope so.
EARNINGS

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

STOCKS – NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS – NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities:

Crude fell sharply -- settling at its lowest level since September 2010 -- amid slackening global demand, and news that inventory levels at an Oklahoma-based crude hub rose. Furthermore, U.S. oil production hit a 30-plus-year high last week, according to The Wall Street Journal. At the close, the December-dated contract was down $2.97, or 3.8%, to settle at $74.21 per barrel.

Gold flip-flopped around the breakeven mark throughout today's session, but eventually settled higher as the dollar lost a little steam. This, despite the World Gold Council reporting Chinese demand for the precious metal fell off during the third quarter. By day's end, December-dated gold was up $2.40, or 0.2%, to close at $1,161.50 per ounce.


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